Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.

Photograph Friday: Native Trees Around the Morro Bay Estuary

Photograph Friday: Native Trees Around the Morro Bay Estuary

Red willow grow in and along many of our local creek banks. They help stabilize the creek banks, reducing erosion.

 

In the springtime, an abundance of low-growing greenery and brightly-colored blooms draw our eyes downward. We gaze at the ground as we make our way past open spaces in our neighborhoods and along the trails that surround the Morro Bay estuary. We admire the beauty of the wildflower-filled fields and the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds that visit blossom after blossom.

The next time you notice a wildflower growing at the base of a tree, admire it fully. Then, look up. Spring’s splendor spans the full height of any Monterey pine or coast live oak. Some of our native trees offer flowers, while others sport the yellow-green of new growth. They shade the ground beneath them, offer shelter and a food source to wildlife, and cool the water that runs through our creeks and out into the bay.

Native tree photographs

In today’s post, we’re sharing images that showcase just a few of the native trees that grow in the Morro Bay watershed.

You can find creek dogwood along many of the streams that drain into Morro Bay. This plant has reddish stems and dark green leaves. It flowers during the summer.

You can find creek dogwood along many of the streams that drain into Morro Bay. This plant has reddish stems and dark green leaves. It flowers during the summer.

 

Monterey Pine, Morro Bay State Park Marina Peninsula Trail

Monterey pines can reach almost 100 feet tall and are common on Black Hill and around the Morro Bay State Park Marina. Unfortunately, many of these trees have succumbed to disease and drought in recent years.

 

Coast live oaks’ thick trunks split into multiple branches, which twist toward the sky and down toward the ground. You can find full-sized coast live oaks, which grow to 75 feet tall, in the Los Osos Oaks State Reserve and in other areas around the estuary.  

The El Morro Elfin Forest is also a good place to see coast live oaks, though the trees here have been stunted by the harsh conditions and grow to only about 20 feet tall.

The El Morro Elfin Forest is also a good place to see coast live oaks, though the trees here have been stunted by the harsh conditions and grow to only about 20 feet tall.

Whether the coast live oaks are full-sized or stunted, you'll often seen lace lichen hanging from their branches. The lichen does not harm the trees.

Whether the coast live oaks are full-sized or stunted, you’ll often seen lace lichen hanging from their branches. The lichen does not harm the trees.

Red willow grow in and along many of our local creek banks. They help stabilize the creek banks, reducing erosion.

Red willows grow in and along many of our local creek banks. They help stabilize the creek banks, reducing erosion. These plants flower yellow in the winter and spring, and female willows’ flowers turn to white, fluffy, cotton-like seeds that catch in the breeze. You might see these seeds floating through the air for a few weeks during the spring.

Did we miss your favorite tree species? Share a picture of your favorite native tree and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


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