Tree Foundation of Kern

Species Selection

If you don't know tree species well, get to know your nursery. Kern County has many good nurseries. Visit several, giving yourself plenty of time to look, listen and see what's available. Ask to see mature trees of the species that interest you.

First, consider the climate zone you live in (Click here for climate zone map) (Mountain, Desert or Valley.) Trees grow best in places that most closely resemble their natural habitat, although many species are widely adaptable. Soil conditions and water availability are key factors to consider. Dry tolerant trees and natives are best for Kern County. Natives to Kern County's riparian zones along rivers and lakes include sycamores, willows, alders, and cottonwoods. These species along with oaks are commonly found on the Valley floor.

Natives in the Mountains are oaks and pines.

Desert natives include junipers and desert willows.

Second, consider the function you want the tree to serve.

Good shade trees include the ashes, elms, locusts, fruitless mulberries, Bradford pears, Chinese pistache, and tulip trees.

Visual barriers and wind breaks can be created using eucalyptus and cypress trees.

Third, recognize that trees and utilities share both air and underground space. Planning before planting insures that the right tree is planted in the right place.

Small trees (under 30 feet high) include flowering plum, goldenrain and crepe myrtle and are good for planting in the low zone.

Medium size trees (up to 50 feet high) include Raywood ash, Chinese pistache and certain oaks.

Large trees include eucalyptus, sycamore, London plane, ginko, Chinese elm, shamel ash, and some oaks, and are suitable for the tall zone.


University of California Cooperative Extension provides Kern County residents with problem-solving information related to, among other things, urban forestry. For information about educational programs, references or informational leaflets, visit the Extension office at 1031 South Mt. Vernon Avenue in Bakersfield or call (661) 861-2631.

URBAN FORESTRY is a specialized branch of forestry whose objective is to cultivate and manage trees for their present and potential contribution to the physiological, sociological and economic well-being of urban society. Fundamental to achieving this objective is to educate on the role of trees in the urban environment.

"Species not recommended".