Lake Herman Open Space

Lake Herman Open Space Project

In 2014, the Benicia Tree Foundation looked for a easier way to plant trees more quickly and with lower cost.  Rather than buy nursery grown trees in five-gallon or 15-gallon containers, we collected acorns along Lopes Road and sprouted them in tree pots that winter.  While these acrons grew, we asked the City of Benicia if we would plant the tree saplings in the City's open space property between Community Park and Lake Herman Regional Park.  The City agreed to let us plant the saplings in the open space east of the pedestrian trail linking Community Park to Lake Herman.  Since the open space is grazed by goats and gophers, we would need to use gopher cages and chicken wire to protect the saplings for two or three years after planting.

Trail looking toward Lake Herman Regional Park

Trail linking Community Park to Lake Herman (northbound).  Site for Lake Herman Opens Space Project to the right.

In November 2015, we hired the California Conservation Corps crews, one from the Delta and one from Napa, to plant 100 oak saplings in the Lake Herman Open Space.  We weren't sure how many they could plant.  They started at 9 and planted 50 by noon.  After lunch, each crew member donated three hours of their time to plant the remaining 50 saplings, each with a gopher basket and chicken wire cage.  We were done by 4:00 PM.

Conservation Corp Crew at the end of the Day

California Conservation Crew shown after planting 100 saplings for the Lake Herman Open Space Project.

The saplings will be watered for the first two dry seasons in order to improve the survival rate.  We purchased a water tank that fits in the back up a pickup.  We drive the pickup with the water tank to the saplings and use gallon-size containers to give each sapling two gallons of water.  The first dry season was 2016, during the drought, so we used a cornstarch-based water supplement called Dri-Water, which allowed us to water at two-month intervals from May to October.  Volunteer crews from Valero are helping us weed around the saplings and water them.  After the first dry season, we are seeing an 80% survival rate for the saplings.

Volunteer Crew from Valero help maintain the trees at Lake Herman Open Space

Valero volunteers after watering saplings in the summer of 2016.