Foxtail Farm is situated in the foothill woodlands and lower montane forest of the Sierra Nevada mountains between 2500 and 3100 feet of elevation. Our typical weather consists of hot, dry summers and cool moist winters. The property features many trees and shrub species.
Populus trichocarpa. We have a few examples of Black Cottonwood on Foxtail Farm and two that are relatively close to the house. Native Americans used components of the tree for treatments in traditional medicine. Because of its salicin content, it was used raw or in salves to treat various ailments.
Black Cottonwood is a deciduous broadleaf tree. The bark is grey and covered with lenticels, becoming thick and deeply fissured on older trees. The bark can become hard enough to cause sparks when cut with a chainsaw. The leaves are long with a glossy dark green upper side and light grey-green underside. The buds are conical, long, narrow and sticky, with a strong balsam scent in spring when they open.
California Black Oak
Quercus kelloggii is a critical species for wildlife. Cavities in the trees provide den or nest sites for owls, various woodpeckers, tree squirrels, and black bears. Acorns are heavily utilized by mule deer, mountain quail, Steller's Jay, and woodpeckers. Acorn woodpecker, Bullock's oriole, and Nashville warbler show a strong preference for California Black Oak.
Tree is deciduous, trunk bark is deeply furrowed, checkered, and dark gray-brown to black. Leaves have deep pointed lobes with a soft bristle and the acorn has flat scales on the cap. California Black Oaks are found below 8000 feet (2400 m) in elevation. We have several specimens on Foxtail Farm.
California Black Walnut
Juglans californica var. hindsii. Foxtail Farm has one specimen of this tree that we know of and it is relatively close to the house and right next to a Canyon Live Oak and Black Cottonwood.
California Black Walnut is classified as a large shrub or a small tree. It grows as part of mixed woodlands either in single species stands or mixed with California oaks and cottonwoods. Compound leaves are formed from groups of smaller leaflets.
Aesculus californica has a short lived season with the leaves intact as they wither and drop by mid-summer leaving the branches and seeds. There are several examples on the Foxtail Farm property. Since the tree's flowers are harmful to our honey bees, any specimens that will be found on the trails throughout the property.
California Buckeye is a large deciduous shrub or small tree with gray bark often coated with lichens and mosses. The leaves are dark green, palmately compound with five leaflets. The flowers are sweet-scented, white to pale pink, borne on erect panicles. The fruit is a fig-shaped capsule containing a large round, orange-brown seed. The seeds are poisonous.
Canyon Live Oak
Quercus chrysolepis is nearly everywhere on the Foxtail Farm property. We have several trees growing near the house. The Canyon Live Oak has multiple trunks for each single tree. Hummingbirds will nest among the live oaks.
Canyon Live Oak is a species of evergreen oak. Its leaves are a glossy dark green on the upper surface and a dull golden or gray nether surface. The bark is light gray and can be smooth or scaly. Acorns occur solitarily or in pairs with a turban-like thick cup densely covered with yellowish hairs.
Pinus sabiniana this tree has several more common names including ghost pine, California foothill pine, digger pine, and bull pine. This tree is not the most attractive on the property and the look doesn't improve with age. This is the most common pine to be found at Foxtail Farm. You can always tell the gray pine as the trunk splits near the top and with most specimens the tree leans somewhat.
Gray Pines grow to 45 feet but can reach heights up to 105 feet. The needles are in fascicles of three, pale gray-green, sparse and drooping and can grow to 12 inches in length. The seed cones are large and heavy. They can be up to 12 inches in length and are almost as wide as long and can weigh 1-1/2 pounds. The bark is brownish gray and generally smooth.
Calocedrus decurrens is one of the most fire and drought tolerant trees. On Foxtail Farm, we have one specimen, a juvenile, near the house. The tree had been planted prior to the acquisition of the property in 2015.
Incense Cedar is a large evergreen tree. It has a broad conic crown of spreading branches. The bark is orange-brown weathering grayish. The foliage is bright green flattened sprays with scale-like leaves arranged in opposite decussate pairs. The seed cones are 3/4 inch in length and start pale green turning to yellow-brown when mature.
Interior Live Oak
Quercus wislizeni grows alongside the Canyon Live Oaks and on Foxtail Farm the trees are often shrubby with the lower branches often devoid of foliage. They are everywhere on the property with several specimens near to the house.
Interior Live Oak is an evergreen oak, highly variable and often shrubby. It is most abundant in the lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada. The dark green leaves are usually small, thick and spiny-toothed. The Bark is smooth and gray. The acorn is long with thin scales on the cap.
Pinus ponderosa was once the most common tree found in the Sierra Nevada foothills but the drought and pine-bark beetles have laid waste to millions of trees. On Foxtail Farm we have been fortunate as we have lost only a few trees and have several healthy specimens on the property near the house.
Ponderosa Pine is a large coniferous pine. The bark on mature trees is yellow to orange-red and younger is blackish-brown. The needles are bright green in plume-like fascicles of three. The cone prickles point outward.