The “Big Trees” of California are the most magnificent specimens of tree growth that have ever been found. In addition, they are the oldest known living things; they connect the present with the past in a chain of living rings in the tree that betray their great age to the modern scientist. Estimates of the age of the “Big Trees” vary from the Christian Era through a period dating back beyond the coming of the Christian Saviour about 4,000 years.
What is known as the Redwoods, or scientifically listed as Sequoia Sempervirens, grow in heavy stands and really are a younger growth of the “Big Trees.” The redwoods grow in the fog belt in the counties bordering the coast from Monterey Bay north to the Oregon line.
These trees, including both species, range in height from 100 to 400 feet and in circumference from 15 to 90 feet. When full grown the “Big Trees” are proportionate and symmetrical in girth and height and the beauty of the tree is enhanced by flutings that traverse the bark from the base to the apex. The root system is a remarkable feature of the “Big Trees,” for they have a very poor footing for trees of their great size and weight. The roots radiate a short distance below the surface of the ground and there is no stabilizer in the shape of a tap root such as in other woods. The bark ranges in thickness from four to thirty inches, although in rare instances it has been found fifty inches thick.
The bark is light, soft and of a bright cinnamon color. The lumber from the redwood tree is light, and ranges in color from medium to light cherry, while the lumber from the “Big Trees,” or Sequoia Gigantia, has a decided pink cast.