10 Best Trees In Northern California

From air quality to energy conservation, trees in Northern California are beneficial in more ways than one. More than just landscape beautification, these trees are essential for a healthy ecosystem.

In this article, we’ll list down some of the most common trees you will find in Northern California. From San Francisco to Fresno, learn more about the trees that grow in the area! 

Top Trees in Northern California 

From its national forests to private landscapes, below are some of the most common trees that grow in Northern California. 

1. California Buckeye 

One of the most popular trees native to Northern California, you cannot find it elsewhere in the world. It is easy to grow, making it a great choice if you want to add a shade tree in your yard while also attracting wildlife. This tree is also distinct because it shows its foliage in the peak of summer instead of fall. It drops leaves as the temperature increases, which is one of its mechanisms to survive the heat. 

Related Post: Fall Colors In California

2. Bigleaf Maple 

While there are several options for San Francisco native trees, one of the most popular is the bigleaf maple. Out of all the maple varieties, this is the one with the biggest leaf, which is where it got its name. The leaves have five large lobes and can measure up to 30cm. The tree itself, meanwhile, can grow up to 36 meters. It is also a long-living tree, which can survive up to 300 years. 

3. White Alder 

An inland tree in Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains, the white alder grows up to 15 meters. The tree can grow up to 36 inches per year and can live up to 150 years. It has a pale-gray bark, which is smooth when the tree is young and scaly as the tree gets older. The leaves, meanwhile, have flat edges. It is susceptible to several pests, including beetle borers, aphids, and spider mites. 

4. Fremont Cottonwood

The Fremont cottonwood tree has a broad and open crown, making it one of the top options if you are looking for a shade tree. At a height of 25 meters and a trunk diameter of 1.5 meters, this is a large tree, making it ideal only for large spaces. The tree is fairly easy to grow, with the most important requirement being exposure to plenty of sun. It also requires watering, so it is best to plant it nearby a natural water supply. 

5. Oregon Ash

A member of the olive family, the Oregon ash grows at a height of up to 25 meters and can live more than 250 years. The tree grows fast when it is young but slows down as it matures. It has compound leaves, which is also what makes its identification easy. The tree grows light-green flowers, which bloom from March to May. Leaf spot and powdery mildew are common diseases. For its growing requirements, one of the most important is fertilizing with extra phosphorous to encourage better root development when it is young. Pinching is also recommended to maintain its shape. 

Related Post: California Ash Tree

6. California Sycamore 

If you are looking for a tall and fast-growing tree, this is one of the best options to consider. The tree grows at about 24 inches per year. Regular tree trimming California is recommended to keep it neat, especially if you have a small yard. It grows a spreading and irregular crown, which also makes it excellent for shade. The tree is also drought-tolerant, so you don’t have to worry much about its water needs, especially in the summer months. 

Related Post: Drought Tolerant Trees California

7. Canyon Live Oak 

An evergreen oak, this tree can grow at a height of 20 meters and the diameter is approximately 39 inches. It is as wide as its height, so this is a great option if you are looking for the best shade trees in California. While the tree is resistant to verticillium, it is susceptible to crown rot, sudden oak death, and armillaria root rot. Meanwhile, the most common pests include oak moth, aphids, and oak borers. 

Related Posts: Oak Tree Diseases California & Oak Tree Care

8. Northern California Black Walnut 

Growing at a maximum height of 60 feet, this is one of the endemic trees in Northern California. It is common in Fresno and San Francisco. The tree has multiple trunks, which grow upward. The expected lifespan is roughly 100 years old, with most trees producing seeds or walnuts upon reaching five years old. It should not be confused with the Southern California black walnut, which is a significantly smaller variety. 

9. Red Willow

If you are looking for native trees to Northern California, the red willow is another option that should not be missed. It is not grown for landscapes. Rather, it grows in the wild, commonly in areas near creeks. This is also one of the fastest-growing trees in California. Within ten years, it can reach a height of 50 feet and the width can also be roughly the same. It is a tree that is widely known for its prevention of soil erosion. 

10. Bailey Acacia 

For a colorful landscape addition while also attracting birds, providers of tree services California recommend planting bailey acacia. It grows fragrant and yellow flowers, which will be in full bloom from January to March. The blue-gray compound leaves make the flowers more attractive. The tree requires a lot of effort when it comes to care and maintenance, especially for pruning. While it is drought-tolerant once it is established, during its younger years, pay attention to regular watering. 



Q: What trees are native to Northern California? 

A: Some of the most common trees native to Northern California are California buckeye, bigleaf maple, white alder, Fremont cottonwood, and canyon live oak, among others. 

Local Tree Experts Overview

Whether in home gardens, public streets, or wild forests, the trees in Northern California listed above are vital to the state’s natural ecosystem. They do not just add aesthetic value to landscapes, but they also help wildlife to thrive while providing cleaner air, among other benefits!

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