Northern California Types of Trees | BeCause Tees

9 Main Types of Trees in Northern California

California is one of the top states in the country when it comes to the diversity of its forests. This means that it is home to many different types of trees. Nevertheless, California forests are in danger due to natural disasters, many linked to climate change. Let's look at the main types of trees that can be found in Northern California.

California Redwood tree view from below

What Are Some of the Most Significant Types of Trees in Northern California?

Different ecosystems in California have their own iconic trees. Southern California has its famous palm trees, while the deserts have Joshua trees, which are actually a type of yucca plant. When you think of Northern California, you probably first picture large, imposing conifers. These trees may be the most iconic of the region, but there are plenty of deciduous trees that are important to the ecosystem as well.

1. California Redwood

Thanks to an act by the state legislature in 1937, the California redwood is the official State Tree. You have probably heard of these trees; they are the tallest tree species in the world. If you make a trip through Northern California, you may be able to see some of these trees for yourself, as many are protected in national or state forests or parks. California redwoods are also known as coastal redwoods.

Coastal redwoods

Coastal Redwoods Collection

Three Trees

Three Trees Collection


2. Blue Oak

If you live in Northern California, you know that oak trees are a common sight. They may not be as internationally famous as the iconic redwoods, but they have at least as important a role to play in the ecosystem. These types of trees support many species of wildlife by supplying acorns to eat and providing homes in their wide-arching branches. Prominent in Sacramento County, the blue oak thrives in a Mediterranean climate of dry, hot summers and cool, wet winters. Interruptions to this pattern may cause the eventual decline of the blue oak. Such interruptions may be natural, such as a winter drought, or the result of human activity, such as irrigation of agricultural crops.

3. California Sycamore

The California sycamore is a tree that you may not want in your front yard, given that it can grow up to 100 feet tall and spread branches over a span of up to 70 feet. Also, it tends to have multiple trunks. Therefore, it may overwhelm your property unless your house and grounds are proportionately large. Nevertheless, it is a majestic tree in a larger landscape. Its tiny leaves are yellow during the spring and turn green later in the season. When it comes time to produce seeds, the California sycamore encases them in soft brown balls with a hairy appearance.

Collage of 3 trees, from left to right: California Redwood, Blue Oak, and California Sycamore

4. Willow

Willow trees belong to the Salix genus, which contains several different species. Some of these types of trees are native to California, while others are invasive. All invasive species are nonnative, but a nonnative species is only considered invasive if it has a negative effect on the ecosystem by its presence. You should research tree species that are invasive to Northern California and avoid planting them on your property. If you already have any on your property, consider removing them. Be sure you can tell the difference between native willows and invasive species.

5. Oregon Ash

Though this type of tree has another state in its name, it is still native to Northern California. This is a better tree to have in your yard because its average height is between 60 to 80 feet and it has short branches with compound leaves that give it a pleasing rounded to oval shape. Its flowers are inconspicuous, but it does produce large numbers of seeds. In autumn, the leaves turn an attractive yellow.

6. Valley Oak

If you want types of trees that grow quickly, this may be a good one to choose for your property. Within the first five years, a Valley oak can grow to be up to 20 feet tall. After 10 years, it will have doubled its height to 40 feet, and after 20 years, it may grow to be up to 60 feet. Valley oak leaves are covered with soft fuzz that gives them a velvety texture, and the branches arch in irregular patterns. Valley oaks tolerate dry soil, and mature specimens are resistant to fire.

Collage of three trees from left to right: willow tree, Oregon Ash, and Valley Oak

7. California White Alder

If you want to attract birds to your yard, consider planting a California white alder. Its fragrance is pleasant to humans as well. This type of tree can grow up to 50 feet in a relatively short period of time, but it's growth slows down after that. Its lovely green foliage gives it appealing looks.

8. California Buckeye

The multiple trunks and low branches of the California buckeye give it a naturally rounded shape that is visually appealing. The California buckeye is a native plant with a role to play in the ecosystem. Nevertheless, it is among the types of trees that you may want to think twice about planting on your property. It's nectar can be toxic to bees, though it can attract and sustain hummingbirds.

9. Box Elder

The box elder tree has a short trunk with a bushy crown. It can grow to be nearly as wide as it is tall, so if you are looking for a shade tree, this is a good candidate. The box elder tree is most commonly found in the Central Valley, meaning that it is accustomed to growing next to streams, but it can adapt to drought conditions if necessary. The box elder goes by several other names, including the seemingly contradictory maple ash.

Collage of three trees, from left to right: California White Alder, California Buckeye, Box Elder

What Does BeCause Tees Do To Protect Different Types of Trees?

In addition to funding the planting of trees with every order, we also make a donation to nonprofit organizations that support environmental causes. Shop our Trees Collection to find tree shirts, hoodies, towels, and more.

Trees Shirts


Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.