91106Of all the Official State Trees, the coastal redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, of California is the grandest. Seriously, it is the tallest tree in the World, so it really ‘is’ the grandest! The tallest is 380 feet tall! Although the related giant redwood of the Sierra Nevada develops bigger trunks, the bulkiest coastal redwoods are thirty feet wide at the base! The oldest are more than 2,000 years old!

All that sensationalism is not so practical for home gardens though. A thirty foot wide trunk on a sixty foot wide city lot would likely be a serious obstacle to gardening for whoever lives there 2,000 years from now. Although, those below the thirty-fifth floors of adjacent buildings might appreciate the foliage. Redwoods are exquisite evergreens in the right situations, but need plenty of space.

Cultivars are more compact than wild trees are, with more strictly conical form. ‘Soquel’ is the most popular. Redwoods are incredibly stable, but as they age, can eventually drop limbs from great height. Trunks are nearly vertical. Limbs are nearly horizontal, and sag with age. Leaves are less than an inch long, but messy as their flat browned tufts shed in abundance through late summer.

14 thoughts on “Coastal Redwood

    1. Oh my! Redwood is excellent for bonsai! My Pa grows Bonsai stock on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and is a Bonsai master. (It is coincidental that ‘Tomeo’ is pronounced very much like the common Japanese name, ‘Tamayo’.) His colleagues can not get enough of the coastal redwood that he grows. (Giant redwood is significantly less popular, and not nearly as conducive to Bonsai culture.) Redwood likes to be misted in dry arid climates, but is otherwise quite resilient. Unlike giant redwood, the coastal redwood is sensitive to frost, so needs shelter in winter in most climates.

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      1. Ironically, I am not at all involved with Bonsai. I just never took an interest in it. I just like to grow things.
        There are many differences between the three species of redwood. (We actually have one each of the other two species at work.) Giant redwood likes extreme weather, with snow in winter and dry warmth in summer. (It is not very happy here.) Coastal redwood can get damaged by frost and snow, and warmth and aridity. Dawn redwood, which is the deciduous redwood, is the most adaptable to a broad range of climates, although it does not like very hot and dry climates. Coastal redwood is difficult to kill, and will regenerate from stumps and roots after getting cut down. Giant redwood does not. Dawn redwood might. Dawn redwood has soft light lime green foliage that gets shed annually. Coastal redwood had rich dark green foliage that is soft, but not quite as soft as that of dawn redwood. Giant redwood has medium green foliage that is rather bristly. While young, giant redwood foliage might seem to be slightly grayish.


    1. No; it never occurred to me to get any. I am no fan of Bonsai. The first coastal redwood trees that my Pa grew (as a wholesale bonsai stock commodity) happened to come from here. They were from a group of trees that were not quite marketable as landscape stock. They happened to be of the same group that provided the first forty or so redwoods that Brent planted in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles to see how well redwoods would do there. Those is Los Angeles did not do well at all. Those that are now Bonsai specimens in the Pacific Northwest might be around for a few centuries. (Redwoods are not grown in landscapes there because they do not tolerate snow well.

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      1. I’m not surprised that redwoods would not do well in the LA area — it’s too warm and dry! But they should do well in the PNW — was that in the Seattle area, or on the Olympic Peninsula?

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      2. The redwoods in Franklin Canyon Park survive because they are in a group, and in a spot that stays damp for a while after winter. I do not remember those in Griffith Park. People in Los Angeles think the few redwoods there are happy, but they are somewhat distressed, and are never quite as happy as they would be farther north. Although giant redwood is quite happy on the slightly drier eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula, coastal redwood does not like the chill and snow. There is a somewhat mature specimen near Silverdale that seems to have been shorn into strict conical form. It is probably quite old, but is not very tall. Branch tips get frosted back, so are unable to stretch out and get long and graceful. If they could get long, they would get broken by the weight of snow.


  1. Fascinating. It could eventually take up most of the wooded end of our garden. If the much talked of tsunami doesn’t come for it. I hope I get to see at least the first stage of its growing; thanks for one you gave me.

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    1. Yes, in a few centuries, it could occupy significant area. I hope that will not be a problem. Their canopies do not get proportionately wide though. They are ‘grove’ trees, who prefer to live with many of their friends and family. That is why their forests are so crowded with so many trunks. They somehow fit together in limited space.That is part of why they are so stable, although single trees are very stable also. In my entire career, I have inspected only two redwoods that destabilized. One had a double trunk with major bark inclusion between the trunks. The two trunks fell away from each other. I really do not know what happened to the other redwood. It was young, and only about twenty five feet tall, and it somehow got pulled up and out of the ground by what seemed to be a small tornado!

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