Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Local trees provide a trip around the world

The trees that anoint our little hamlet called Fallbrook are immigrants from around the world that dot our hillsides, shelter our homes and give us so many benefits.

As you drive over the hill from the north or come up Hwy. 76 and enter our verdant hills, Fallbrook is uniquely dotted with avocado, citrus and ornamental trees from every continent of the world. This is what gives such a definite charm to our village and this is why so many of us live here.

We have our beloved oak woodlands that meander through the creeks, valleys and stream beds, with a rich indigenous habitat living within those forests.

It is understandable that when the first settlers from the east migrated with their wagon trains and crossed the vast, parched prairies and over the mountains that these oak woodlands gave comfort, shade and peace to their new home in California.

As San Diego grew, so did its trees that were imported from around the world. Immigrants brought many types of seeds and introduced a rich and diversified tree palette that created a likeness to their homelands and grew so abundantly in and around our village.

Over 90% of the trees that we live among are imported from around the world, just like its people, and this variety adds texture and personality that is beautiful and unique to the state.

Can you imagine the first pioneers who landed on the East Coast and, as far as the eye could see, found it covered with forest upon forest and with the diverse flora and fauna that co-existed?

With our Mediterranean-like climate, trees of many species find this an ideal area to set their roots to grow and thrive here.

Let's do a little botanical tree traveling and explore from where so many trees in our hometown originate from.

The East Coast has brought us maple trees, southern magnolia, eastern redbud, elm trees, ash, sweetgum and more.

The vast prairies were dotted with willows, cottonwood, oaks and mesquite, where they grew following the creeks and stream beds to drink from those water sources.

As the pioneers in their wagon trains confronted the 14,000 feet high Rockies, a vast range of pines grew along that unmapped route. What a challenge of survival those early frontiersmen and women had to surmount, but with hope and spirit they continued westward.

And after they crossed the Continental Divide, they forged on to meet the Sierras and its giant Sequoia trees whose height had to be unfathomable.

What a view from those mountain tops it must have been when casting their eyes to the western horizon, which was one continuous blanket of native oak woodlands. I wish I could have been there to experience coming into California and the westward movement of the 1800s.

And as California grew with the early explorations from seafaring ships, sailors and immigrants, all brought seeds from their homeland to be planted in this new land.

Trees from Europe were the lindens, cork oaks, birch and olives trees from the Mediterranean region. The deodars were from the Himalayan Mountains, while Italian cypress dotted Italy on its hillsides. The tall and upright Canary pines were from the Canary Islands off the coast of Spain and Portugal and lived very happily here in the southland.

African trees include the tulip tree with its orange and yellow tulip-shaped flowers blooming in the summertime. The afrocarpus (formerly podocarpus) is a grand tree to shade our gardens. The coral trees give us blossoms in orange, pink, and white forms and many species to choose from. The pink flowering Cape Chestnut grows along North Main Street and is dynamic to see when in bloom, which is right now.

Australian trees include the eucalyptus trees from down-under that were grown in California and harvested as railroad ties, but it was found not to be as worthy as first predicted. The railroad industry went with indigenous pines from the abundant mountain ranges of California to cut trees for the railroad ties.

The drought-tolerant acacia with winter flowers adds cheer to many of our gardens. Weeping agonis, the peppermint trees, give a wispy look to many yards and do not get too big. Bottlebrushes with colorful blooms bring in hummingbirds. Grevillea and the bottle-trees can be planted for their unique shapes, and my favorite is brachychiton rupestris.

The islands of Queensland bring us the Monkey puzzle tree and the Norfolk Island Star Pine, which you need space for, and many dot the skyline here in Fallbrook as towering green giants. Metrosideros is another excellent tree called the New Zealand Christmas tree for it blooms around the Christmas holiday Down Under, but blooms for us above the equator in our summertime.

South American trees like the silk floss tree with its orchid-like flowers are spectacular with fall blossoms and a sight to behold. Jacaranda, from Brazil, are clothed in blue to purple sheets of color in early summer, and also have a white form.

The iconic pepper tree, from Peru, is planted throughout California, and was a signature tree planted along the mission trail with the establishment of the Missions. It has been in California for so long it is thought to be a native but is not.

Cassia "Golden Medallion tree" is covered with bright yellow flowers in summer. The Tipu tree comes from Argentina and can reach 40' in time with a full shade canopy.

Trees from the Orient, including the pistachio from China, give us a good punch of fall color just before it goes deciduous. Ornamental pears splash the midwinter season with white flowers and break up winter's gloom. Albizzia comes from Korea and the China mainland.

Chinese elm is a high fast-growing shade tree well adapted to our climate zone. The fruiting white mulberry grows in our gardens quite well and has some colorful fall foliage to be enjoyed. Bauhinia "orchid trees," both in white and lavender, can put on a show of color to knock your socks off.

Dawn redwoods are related to our own sequoias. The Northern Hemisphere was covered with these giant trees some 65 million years ago, but as the planet cooled, this species was thought to be extinct until it was discovered in a small isolated valley in central China and seeds were brought out here and grown back in 1941. Japanese maples can give an Oriental theme and have colorful autumn foliage.

So, when we understand the history of local trees, you don't need a passport or the expense of continental flight tickets to take a botanical voyage from around the globe; it's all right here in the Fallbrook area.

Here in California, we have the tallest trees in the world, Sequoia sempervirens, reaching over 380 feet in height and still growing. We also have the giant trees of the world in the Sierra Mountains and as the crow flies over those mountains to the White Mountains in Owens Valley, we have some of the oldest Bristlecone pines in the world, some dating over 9,000 years old and still alive.

I have had the great fortune of visiting and living among these grand trees in my life, right here in our golden state.

I consider these imported tree immigrants a blessing, and I am thankful that we live in harmony amongst these silent giants that contribute to the complexion of our hometown.

To help the trees, there are many groups that you can support like the National Arbor Foundation, Trees for San Diego, U.S. Forest Service, American Forests Champion of Trees, Save The Redwoods and more. The internet will give you many options.

Locally, you can join the Save Our Forest group to plant, steward and care for Fallbrook trees and landscapes; for more information, call 760-728-5395

Roger Boddaert, the Tree Man of Fallbrook & Maker of Natural Landscapes, is a Certified I.S.A. arborist who has cared for California trees and landscapes for over 40 years; he can be contacted at 760-728-4297.


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