Thursday, October 13, 2011

All about the Giant Redwood Tree

The Giant Redwood tree is also known as the Sierra redwood and the giant sequoia. Botanically, it is named Sequoiadendron giganteum, and is from the bald-cypress family of plants. It is an evergreen.

Giant Redwood Description

Cultivated, these large trees will get 60 to 100 feet tall. In the wild, they can grow much higher. After 100 years of age, the tree will be free of branches up to the 100 feet mark. Leaves are gray-green and scale-like with sharp points. The bark is thick, red-brown, and fissured. Cones are egg-shaped. It is cone-shaped in growth and will become flat-topped with age.

Growing Guide

These trees grow well in deep well-drained soil. They need full sun to partial shade, doing best in the partial shade. Propagate by seed and pretreat the seed with a day long soak and then one to two months of chilling. They can also be propagated by softwood tip cuttings and semi-hardwood cuttings. They are hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 5 through 9.


The variety ‘Glauca’ has blue tinted foliage. Cultivar ‘Pygmaeum’ has a shorter and shrubbier growth habit than a typical redwood. The ‘Pendulum’ variety will have droopy branches and a crooked trunk.

Name Selection

The name comes from a tribute to Sequioah. Sequoiah was the son of a Cherokee woman and British man, who created the alphabet for his people. He was born in 1770 and died in 1843. The ‘dendron’ part of the name comes from the Greek word for ‘tree’.

General Sherman

The largest living thing on Earth currently, is a giant redwood in Sequioa National Park named “General Sherman”. It is 275 feet high and 107 feet wide at the crown with 26 feet wide at the trunk. They estimate it to be 2,500 years old.

If there is room in your landscape for such a majestic tree, these do quite well. In fact, for the eastern portion of the United States, this variety will do better than the similar California redwood.

Source: Floridata, Giant Sequoia


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