• Giant Sequoia Trees

    Sequoia & Kings Canyon

    National Parks California

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  • Road Construction Delays on Park Roads for 2014 Season

    Expect occasional 15-minute to 1-hour delays in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks on weekdays only (times vary), including delays to/from the General Sherman Tree, Crystal Cave, and Grant Grove. More »

  • Vehicle Length Limits in Sequoia National Park (if Entering/Exiting Hwy 198)

    Planning to see the "Big Trees" in Sequoia National Park? If you enter/exit via Hwy. 198, and your vehicle is longer than 22 feet (combined length), please pay close attention to vehicle length advisories for your safety and the safety of others. More »

  • You May Have Trouble Calling Us

    We are experiencing technical problems receiving incoming phone calls. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please send us an email to SEKI_Interpretation@nps.gov or check the "More" link for trip-planning information. More »

Blue Oak

Navigation menu for blue oak   Live stream webcams of blue oak and California buckeye  Phenophase profile sheet for blue oak  Monitoring datasheet for blue oak

(Quercus douglasii)

Blue oak leaves with acorns

Blue oak leaves with acorns

Blue Oak Habitat

Blue oaks are common in the foothills of Sequoia National Park, which experience a drier and warmer climate than the higher elevation habitats where sequoia trees are found. The foothills are composed of chaparral and woodland plant communities that are able to tolerate the Mediterranean climate: dry, hot summers and cool, wet winters.

Young blue oak shedding leaves

Young blue oak shedding leaves

Why monitor blue oaks?

The heat-tolerant blue oaks respond to climate. Typically, blue oaks shed their leaves each year, but in wet years their leaves can stay green all year. In very dry years, blue oaks can forego acorn production to reduce their need for water. Blue oaks are an ideal species to monitor for phenology because their life cycle stages are sensitive to changes in weather and climate, and their phenophases are easy to recognize.

An Acorn Woodpecker storing acorns in a granary

An Acorn Woodpecker storing acorns in a granary

A host of species rely upon blue oak acorns as an important source of food. Birds, squirrels, insects, deer and even bears eat acorns when they are available. Acorn woodpeckers stockpile acorns for the winter months by storing them in dead trees and branches called granaries. Therefore, variation in acorn production due to changes in climate may have a serious impact on the park’s entire food web.

Did You Know?

Beautiful white spar crystals.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks could have been set aside solely to protect the amazing caves found here. The parks protect half of the caves more than a mile long in California, including the longest cave in the state. They contain Pleistocene-era fossils, rare minerals and unique animals.