|November 2009 Marsha wrote to give the location of a Redwood in Berkshire while on a visit from the U.S.
"We are visiting from the U.S. and we were driving through a housing estate in Wargrave where we saw a Giant Redwood. This was very impressive to us because we have them in the U.S. and always thought they only grew in the Pacific northwest. We call this a Sequoia or Giant Redwood in the US. We have been to Yosemite several times and to the Sequoia National Park. They are spectacular trees.
|We are really enjoying your country. My husband, Bill, said to tell you that after careful inspection we decided that the tree was actually a Washingtonia! We head back over the pond on the 17th. We have had wonderful experiences; your website being one of them!"
Thank you for your story and for the location of the Giant Redwood in Wargrave. I am pleased that you enjoyed your visit to the U.K. and that you like the web site. Giant Redwoods have been a big part of my life over the past seven years and the web site has enabled me to hear from some really nice people, such as yourself, from all over the world. I hope you have a safe journey home and carry on visiting the site from afar.
Who knows, maybe one day I will get to see some of the real Giants over in your neck of the woods!
Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) in the Santa Cruz Mountains
|January 2010 Alex wrote describing what it is like to live among the Coast Redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
"I am a redwood nut living in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Big Basin National Redwood Park and own some old giants. The chain saws never stop and planting them is all I can do to help -- besides buying the land they sit on.
It's no trick to grow them from seed at the base of their mother, about 90% will hatch. I believe the challenge is that the seeds are released in the rain (November to February), begin to germinate and then dry out and die. Once they are wet, they have to be kept wet for a year or so. So, I rush around in October, collecting about 40 pounds of seeds before the first rain. The fertile ones are a rich, bright orangey-red. The dead ones are dull orange to grey to black.
While the nurseries sell only clones of 2 or 3 variants, there are several others including "weeping" whose branches look like a waterfall not outstretched like conifers.
|Whoever owns the land can cut the trees. In this Sequoia sempervirens belt, any land without a house on it or in a National Park is owned by a lumber company. They haul the cut giants out every morning at 4am not to be noticed and put full page display advertisements in the paper about how the trees need "thinning" to be healthy.
A big lie, thinned trees die at the top, can't hold the mist at 150-300', and have no protection against desiccation (no rain for 6 months), wind-throw and erosion under their roots, none of which exist in a redwood forest. The trees remaining in our neighborhoods are worth more than $5000 each, so people cut them for the money -- typically the trees are worth more than the house and land and "they block the sunlight". Having destroyed the canopy, the struggling remainders fall on power lines in the storms and block the roads (a small 100' redwood is quite a job to chainsaw into pieces small enough to move). The answer? Cut more trees ! (Sorry about the rant).
(Sequoiadendron giganteum -"Pendulum")
|On the left, in the foreground, are two healthy mature California Bay Laurels in my yard that fell in the storm a week ago. This stand of trees turns out not to be our native Coast Redwood, but rather the inland Sequoiadendron giganteum (Wellingtonia) that a bird brought a few hundred years ago. It is the variant "Pendulum" they seem to know of in England, but not here where a tree is a tree and in the way of "progress". (Sorry, I meant to end the rant)."
|Thank you for your very interesting (but also very sad in places) story. What a fantastic place to live among those incredible trees. In the future, whenever someone writes to say that they have a Redwood growing close to their house and they are concerned about root damage to their foundations, I will point them to your photograph!
I am pleased you are doing your bit to keep up the number of Redwoods in Santa Cruz and I am in awe of your germination rate of 90% and the amount of seeds that the trees produce.
Please do not apologise for "ranting" about the wanton destruction by greedy lumber companies. I can never understand why these ancient trees are still allowed to be cut down in their natural habitat in the U.S. It is particularly absurd given that they are one of America's great heritages; little or no ancient buildings or castles, instead it has the gift of these magnificent trees that have stood for thousands of years and enthral people across the world.
Such destruction happens on a much smaller scale in the U.K. when a perfectly healthy tree that has stood for over a century giving pleasure to thousands of people, is condemed as "dangerous or diseased" and is cut down simply because it is in someone's way.
Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) Rhode Island
|April 2010 While we are on sad tales, here is Michael's story.
"At about 4:00 eastern time today, I major storm was making its way through Rhode Island. Heavy thunder, then lightning, followed closely by golf ball sized hail that began to litter my yard. Then came a sound I hope to never to hear again. Lightning struck one of my dawn redwoods, split the tree in half, and well it is all but gone.
There is quite a bit of history behind this tree, as well as the other other one in my yard (though the one remaining is not nearly as impressive looking and is quite a bit smaller.) These trees came directly from China, and at one point there were 30 growing on my property.
Well some were given away and the rest did not grow more than a few years, as one of the gardeners hired thought they were weeds and hacked them all down. I believe there are 6 dawns in New England, well at least up until this afternoon. Our neighbors, who previously owned this land also have a massive dawn in their yard, even more impressive than the one that was so drastically taken down by mother nature. Why couldn't she have taken one of the diseased pines down I have not yet removed myself due to the heavy price tag coming along with it?
The odder part of the story comes next. Just a few months ago I was interested in trying to grow some from seeds, and collected a half a dozen cones, all from the redwood that was hit. I was not expecting many to grow, I planted 197 seeds, and so far 8 have sprouted. They are looking pretty good, and well I am even more dedicated to ensuring that they will grow now. Much of the success comes from your site!"
Thank you for your tale Michael. A sad start but nevertheless a story that ended on a positive note. Good luck with your new seedlings, what a stroke of luck that you gathered some seeds from the tree before its demise.
Giant Redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) Alder Creek - "Stagg Tree"
|June 2010 Sonny wrote to say that his family own a grove of Giant Sequoias.
"My family owns the Stagg Tree, the fifth in size of all the Giant Sequoias. This grove is the largest in private hands. It is in the Alder Creek grove. This tree has been climbed a number of times, near the top was found a burned out room. The room is large enough for four people to sleep in it. One of my grandsons slept in it.
The story about the redwoods being cut down is no longer true and hasnít been true for 50 years. If you will look carefully at my website you will see history and there are two good stories about me and my time."
The Stagg Tree sounds really impressive and I am particularly intrigued by the "room" near the top! I was also really pleased to hear how you have been safeguarding the trees and not cutting them down. Over here in the U.K. we so often hear of these magnificent old trees in the American groves still being cut down by logging companies, it is refreshing to hear a different story.
|June 2014 Evan wrote to tell us about Redwoods in Ohio and North Carolina
"I read on your web site that you wanted to hear from folks who know of Redwood specimens in unusual places. I live in Columbus, Ohio where there are 5 Sequoiadendron Giganteum. One is located in Goodale Park near the downtown area. It is about 7 feet tall, after having suffered a bit of die-back during our last drought. Another is in the front lawn of a rental house on West Tompkins street, having been planted there by a neighbour, Matt Furbush, who at one time had over 100 of these trees in containers. All but a few of those died, however. Matt's tree is about 6 feet tall.
I planted two others, the smallest and newest is only about 2 feet tall and lives on East Northwood Ave. I have the second largest Sequioia in Columbus which is in the Grandview neighborhood. I planted it about 13 years ago when the tree was about 5 years old. It is now over 10 feet tall with a trunk diameter of about 8 inches. It has struggled because I planted it in a raised bed, thinking it would benefit from the drainage, but the raised bed is prone to drying out.
Now, however, it has grown enough that the roots have probably exceeded the dimensions of the bed and have traveled downward to find the permanent topsoil. The largest redwood here is nearly 40 feet tall and it's on a private property in a ravine in the Clintonville neighborhood. Its trunk diameter is under a foot. Its height-to-diameter ratio may be due to the fact that it is situated within a shady canopy of taller, established native deciduous hardwood trees. All 5 of our Sequoias display some die-back after each Winter, but their crowns remain mostly green and all 5 are showing plenty of new growth this year. I expect that mine will gain at least 2 feet in height this year as long as we don't have several weeks of temperatures over 100f as we did several years ago."
Thank you for all the information about Redwoods in Ohio, they sound like interesting specimens and I hope they all continue to flourish.
Dawn Redwood (Metasquoia glyptostroboides)
|January 2016 Dick wrote to say he has been growing all three Redwoods for many years in California and Northern Virginia
"In California, I germinated and grew Coast Redwoods, Giant Sequoias and Douglass Firs. I planted about 800 Coast redwoods on the 40 acres that I owned from bare root stock from National Arborday Society. They are cheap and you can order them in bundles of a thousand.
I now live in Northern Virginia and grow mostly Dawn Redwoods but I have also germinated and planted Giant Sequoias, Coast Redwood, and Douglas Fir. Of these four, Douglas Fir and Dawn Redwood do best in Virginia.
In your posts, I see lots of mention of Coast Redwoods in Muir Woods near San Francisco. I need to point out that the largest tree in Muir woods is a Douglas Fir, not a Redwood. The same was true of the older trees on my property.
To obtain Dawn Redwood seeds, I just gather cones from accessible trees around town, with attractive shapes, on public easements and with cones within reach. I also gather cones from four Dawns I planted 25 years ago at my previous home. For older, larger trees with cones only in their upper branches, I just have to wait until after a Fall storm and then go pick up cones off the ground. There are several Dawns in my area that are around 120 feet tall.
I dry the cones near my furnace in plastic trays, extract the seeds by rattling the dried cones in a large plastic jar, stratify them in damp inorganic media in the fridge and germinate them in beds of standard seed growing media covered to one eighth deep. I always end up with more seeds than I need. The extras, I stratify naturally in damp seed beds placed out in wet, shady areas, and covered with screens, for winter. I have tried treatments to reduce damping off without much success. To end up with the number of seedlings desired after loosing seeds and seedlings to damping over, squirrels and accidents, it is easier to just start with a hundred or so times that number of seeds. That is not as difficult as it seems. With just 4 to 6 pocketfulls of cones, I end up with a cup or so of seeds which is thousands. People say, "Oh, lookit them! Coupla dozen pretty little trees. You have suuuch a green thumb!" I don't mention that I started with 3000 seeds.
After the trees are two years old and 4 to 6 feet tall, I give them away. I donate them to parks, churches, museums, neighborhood associations, and interested individuals. I donated a lot of them to the Crescent Ridge Dawn Redwood Preserve in North Carolina. My seedlings help provide genetic diversity to other groves. I have never sold a tree. It is just a hobby. I am a retired US Navy Submariner/Naval Constructor, not a botanist.
I see warnings in your posts about over-watering Sequoias and Coast Redwoods. I have found that it is not possible to over-water a Dawn Redwood. They will grow in standing water just like a Cypress. In fact, my normal watering procedure when I go away for weeks is to set all the pots in tubs full of water, the depth of the tubs being about half to three quarters the height of the pots. I do the same for Cypress. The same process seems to help survival in the winter for those seedlings that I cannot fit into my sun room.
After many years of growing trees with a 1% germination rate, I tried growing Bald Cypress. I thought I knew enough and did not bother to ask an expert. Turned out, they have a high germination rate and do not damp over. I was overwhelmed with seedlings! My whole property was covered with pots. I was hauling Bald Cypress to every Native Plant Society, museum, neighborhood association and park for many miles around! I also gave them away at our local farmers market.
Thank you for your interesting and informative email and congratulations on your very successful tree growing, I am quite envious of your success rates. I take your point about not being able to over-water the Dawn Redwoods, in fact just recently I have visited three of ours that are growing near a pond, one of them has it feet permanently in water as I planted it a little closer than the others (in fact I think the pond may have been smaller due to a short term drought when I planted them). It has grown to nearly three times the size of the other two! I hope you continue your good work for many years to come.