Quercus chrysolepis

Old Growth Live Oak

MR 520

One of the neat things about working as a forester is passing through the hard to get to places. Not just off the path, but on rock faces, landslides, stream canyons, etc. Topography and geology can create a impressive diversity of habitats within a forest. This chaotic assemblage of micro sites is one of Humboldt Counties trademarks.

MR 519

Old growth live oak stands like this one are not uncommon in our region, at least where access is difficult. These trees can cling to these rock outcrops for centuries. These places tend to be very harsh. Poor soils and exposure to high winds can stunt tree growth and beat a tree down. They can persist, but will never grow very large. Occasionally they are sheltered from such effects and you can find huge live oaks that almost defy imagination.

SFE 133

Here is another one. This tree is just ridiculous. There were a few more like it nearby, but this one had the perfect crown. Its like a plasma globe of branches reaching out for the power of the sun. Nooks and Crannies!

SFE 134

Old Growth Live Oak

MR 426

Quercus chrysolepis. It is not uncommon to find old growth live oak in Humboldt County. Because it tends to grow in places that are not easy to get to, it has been largely unaffected by past management.

MR 424

These trees are known to be long-lived and may reach ages exceeding 300 years. If you ever come across exceptionally large live oak, you can start pondering the past several hundred years and what these trees have witnessed.

MR 425

Want to find big live-oaks? Look near rock outcrops and poor soils. The biggest live-oaks I tend to find in hard to get places, often in steep canyons and bluffs.