Heymatt: What’s the tallest tree in San Diego? I have some guesses, but I suspect I’m completely wrong. And I wonder if the tallest tree in these parts is one that was planted by humans or grew naturally.
To the best of my knowledge, nobody has measured and recorded an official “tallest tree in San Diego.” Be that as it may, it’s a safe bet that the tallest tree around is a eucalyptus and was therefore planted by human hands. As a species, eucalypts are some of the tallest trees in the world — only the giant redwoods grow taller. The blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) is the species that grows the tallest in San Diego. For some reason, they grow taller in Northern California, but we still get trees that grow significantly past 100 feet, sometimes half again that much. The tallest native species is the sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana). Large specimens abound in the mountains, but because the local climate doesn’t support giant trees very well, they’re (again) smaller than sugar pines in NorCal and Oregon.
While it’s not the tallest tree in town, the massive Morton fig out front of the Natural History Museum in Balboa park is probably the largest tree in San Diego, based on the volume of wood it contains. It’s so girthsome that it can easily outweigh a much taller eucalyptus tree.