Leaflet: Why We Love Oaks


We love oaks and you should too!

At Friends of Trees, we are particularly fond of oak trees, so much so that our mascot is Garry Oak. For our tree experts, it’s a go-to tree for reasons that go beyond its iconic nature.

“We got a lot of oaks this season,” says Neighborhood Trees Senior Specialist Drew Land. “As a species, they are an effective resource against climate change. And I want people to know that!”

A recent study published in Tree Physiology found that when mature oak trees were bathed in levels of CO2 equivalent to what is expected in 2050, the trees increased their rate of photosynthesis up to a third in response.

Some folks are reluctant to plant oak trees because they drop a lot of leaves. But we have learned that it’s healthier for your yard to leave the leaves, so that shouldn’t discourage you. Oak leaves are high in tannic acid and don’t decompose as immediately as other species, so they make for particularly good mulch.

Oak trees are particularly good providers to their ecological community, from contributing to the food web to managing the watershed to storing carbon. In those regards, it’s one of the most productive things you can put in your own yard.

“You plant an oak in your yard, you’re planting a zoo,” says Douglas W. Tallamy, author of The Nature of Oaks. “It’s your chance to create life that didn’t exist in that space.”

Oaks are the backbone of our local food chains and are crucial to feeding native insects, which feed the native and migratory birds and small mammals. The Willamette Valley was an Oregon White Oak savannah for 10,000 years. It doesn’t get any more native than that!

“Thankfully, we do plant loads of Oregon white oaks, which is the most important oak species locally,” Drew says. “But the more we plant, the better.”

THANK YOU! Onward to 2019 …

A giant thank you to everyone who donated to trees + community during our year-end campaign!

Your support is absolutely crucial in order for us to engage so many volunteers and plant so many trees in so many places. Ever wonder how we use your donation? Please join Garry Oak in exploring how your donation makes a difference.



Happy New Year!

The Many Loves of Garry Oak

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, our mascot, Garry Oak, has been thinking about a new treeheart.

garry montage

It’s hard being alone on the day of love, commitment, and romance. So Garry has been getting his roots wet meeting potential partners.

garry montage 2

It’s difficult to find that special someone when you’re a mascot. Not all the choices are healthy…

garry montage 3

Although there are sporty options, cats and trees don’t always mix…

garry montage 4

Birds and Trees are a little better.

GArry montage 5

Garry, seriously, ask what this guy does for a living! Talk to Joey about how he came by the nickname, Timber.

garry montage 6

We hope Garry gets what he needs for Valentine’s Day. We can still help you honor that special someone. This year, we’re excited to offer special gift certificates you can give to your Valentines. See our Valentine’s Day Gift Tree packs

garry oak valentines

What did the cyclist say to the oak?

June 24, 2012 - Sunday Parkways (North Portland)
A young cyclist challenges Garry Oak (FOT file)

What did Friends of Trees mascot Garry Oak see and hear at the June 24, 2012 Sunday Parkways ?

“It’s the tree!”

“There he is!”

“Hi, Garry!”

“Hi, tree!”

“I hoped I’d see you again this year!”

“I love your smile.”

“I am a Friend of Trees!”

“We love the trees we got from Friends of Trees!”

“You guys are great!”

“You’re not a real tree.”

“I know your founder, Richard Seidman.”

“Don’t let Timber Joey see you.” (Fortunately Garry is a friend of Timber Joey. They have a gentlemen’s agreement about Timber Joey’s chainsaw.)

“I saw you at last year’s North Portland Sunday Parkways!”

“We love trees.”

“Go trees!”


PGE video features winning Grand Floral Parade float: Right Tree, Right Place, Right On!

Grand Floral Parade 2011
Longtime Friends of Trees supporter Wayne Lei on PGE's Grand Floral Parade, "Right Tree, Right Place, Right On!" (Emma Gray)

This great video (below) produced by Portland General Electric captures the spirit of PGE’s Rose Festival float, “Right Tree, Right Place, Right On!”

Friends of Trees is honored that PGE, lead sponsor of our Plant It Portland! campaign, featured Friends of Trees and Plant It Portland! on its float for this year’s Starlight and Grand Floral parades.

You can read more about the Friends of Trees volunteers and staff and PGE volunteers and staff who helped with the Starlight Parade. You can also read about our preparations for the Rose Festival Parade.

PGE’s “Right Tree, Right Place, Right On!” float won the Grand Marshal’s Award for Whimsy. Congratulations, PGE and all the PGE and Friends of Trees volunteers who helped make the float successful.

Many fans of Garry Oak, our mascot, waved at Garry from the sidelines at the parade. Join Garry on Facebook. He’d love to be your friend!