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Coast Redwood in Central Florida?

June 15, 2011

I was given a tree from one of the big box stores a couple months or so back. I really didn't expect a redwood to grow here in Central Florida, but so far it growing at an astonishing rate and looks as healthy and green as any my native Slash and Loblolly Pines. Question is... will they grow here or have I just been lucky with it so far? It was a small bare root tree when I got it, now it's in a small pot and it's branching out and has doubled in size. I just need to know what to do with it and what to expect as I have never "noticed" a Redwood tree here in Central Florida.


Comments (19)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

    why would bigboxstore have a redwood ..

    i think we need to start with a proper ID ... unless you are 100% sure ...

    can you post 2 pics ...one of the whole tree.. one closeup of a branch with needles ...

    and what part of FL are you in ... the PNW is not hot.. most of FL is hot ...


  • jayinflorida

    I don't know as to why... it's was on "Earth Day" and they were giving them away for free. Below are 3 pics I took this afternoon... the tag says it's a "Coast Redwood". I put the tree in a chair to use as a "size scale". As stated above, I live in Central Florida... "Lakeland" area to be more specific... between Orlando and Tampa.

  • donn_

    Pretty little tree. Use it for a Bonsai, and it'll be easier to give it what it needs to stay alive in your climate.

  • lucretia1

    I knew someone who tried Coast & Dawn redwoods as well as giant sequoias in Merritt Island (east of Orlando on the coast.) Seems like they grew well at first and then faded away.

  • jayinflorida

    Well, I had/have a feeling that it's just not meant to grow down here... So, if I keep it in a pot... explain the Bonsai method since I know nothing about it.

  • donn_

    In a nutshell, Bonsai involves keeping a tree small with a combination of root pruning, crown pruning, defoliation, wire training and other techniques. The object is a small plant with the aspects of its full-grown nature.

    Here's an example of a Coast Redwood on display at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens:

    There are thousands of books on the subject and reams of free online information on the how-to aspects. Linked below is a good summary article at Wikipedia.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Wikipedia on Bonsai

  • eric_9b

    I work at Leu Gardens in Orlando. We planted out a Sequoia sempervirens 'Majestic Beauty' in Sept. 2000 and it grew well until this fall. It started to decline and was dead by spring. Don't know what happened. It was about 4ft tall when it was planted and was about 15ft when it died.

    This spring I planted out a small S. sempervirens and a S. sempervirens 'Aptos Blue'. So far they are doing well.

    Now Dawn Redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, does well here as long as it gets moist/wet soil. We have several planted out along with specimens of several cultivars. The only problem I have noticed is that the variegated/spotted/golden cultivars lose their coloring after a couple years.

    Sequoiadendron does not grow here at all.

  • famartin

    I can imagine Coast Redwood doing alright in Florida since it seems to do well in the Central Valley of California if provided irrigation. It also does well in Georgia and South Carolina which also suggests that its reasonable to give it a try.

  • salicaceae

    There are a few very, very large ones around north Florida and south GA - at least 30 meters tall and more than 50 years old. They need good moisture to do well - this is definitely true of Metasequoia.

  • jimv321

    I have a small grove 10 of coastal redwoods growing in Tallahassee Florida. I've been working on it for 25 years now, the largest tree is 40 feet tall with a base girth of 40 inches, second largest is 35 feet with base of 27 inches. The others vary and are from many planting attempts at different times. The most successful trees have happened when the tree actually rooted itself out of the container and I carefully cut away all of the container and buried the surrounding area in a mixture of 1/3 pete moss, 1/3 compost and 1/3 of the surrounding soil that is at a Ph of about 6.5. All previous attempts to fertilize my trees have either killed or weakened them. What works best is a thick laver of mulch (up to 12 inches). I use grass clippings, pine needles, cypress chips, pine chips and basically any green matter from my property that doesn't have any undesirable invasive species in it. The grove struggles every year through the heat of August and September but always recovers and thrives in December and January.

  • dbarron

    jimv, out of curiosity, I wonder if your best success with trees that root themselves out of the pots, indicates something about drainage and the water table in Florida ?

  • jimv321

    I don't think so. I'm over 100 ft. above sea level and my soil here, equidistant between Georgia and the gulf is labeled reddish brown , moist, medium to fine clayey sand from it's perk test. The test in that area showed 1 minute per inch. My well is 140 ft. deep at the second aquifer. I can't logically explain why the redwoods that root where I set the pots thrive while the ones that I "decide" to plant don't. I've decided (totally illogically) that redwoods want to "grove" instead of stand by themselves. I split the saplings from root bound containers and always have between ten and twenty young trees in 1 to 3 gallon containers. The ones that I have set around 10 to 12 ft from the largest trees will send roots out the drainage holes in their pots in a month or two while the ones I set in other places simply don't. After fighting with them for a number of years I decided to yield. It could be coincidence or the larger trees might be having some impact on the soil that the saplings are responding to. Regardless, after trying many plantings in different places that never thrived I decided to let them "grove" ! It did occur to me that you don't ever see a redwood tree standing alone, they're always in a grove. Having been around since before the dinosaurs, maybe they have some strategies we don't know about or can't measure.

  • John Peric

    Well if you live in Central Florida you are well within zone 9 and if you are in North Central Florida you are in the zone 8-9 transition area, (Red wood trees thrive in zones 7-9,) and if you got this sometime in the spring or winter, (probably the best time to get a redwood tree in Florida due to the cooler temperatures and fog,) it would definitely make sense for yours to thrive. I myself had a red wood tree that my mom got me for my birthday, but she left it in a box for a week, then put it in the wrong soil, and then we got a heat wave followed by flooding, which was then followed by Irma, which killed my tree. :/

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)

    The USDA zone ranges listed in various references - in the sense of designating the higher number as a "highest zone possible" - are often kind of meaningless, and especially so in the case of a plant like this. A large swath of its native range is actually zone 10...the immediate coast of central and northern California. Yet it would not survive long term in the "zone 10" of Miami Florida.

    Likewise there are many maritime climate plants rated "zone 7-10" that would never survive a week of summer anywhere in Florida.

    The better sources and nursery catalogs just list a single zone of likely hardiness or a minimum temperature a plant can be expected to withstand.

  • vas00134

    I live in central Florida, and there is a tree that TOWERS over the forest canopy on my daily route to and from work in Hernando County; so much so that I have been obsessing over it. I have tried to identify the tree by googling, and we have numerous Audubon books and have still yet to identify. I am going to take a picture as it it quite amazing; I could swear it's a Sequoia.

  • plantkiller_il_5

    Be sure to start a seperate post

    multiple pics will be best

  • Embothrium

    100 ft. isn't "very, very tall" for coast redwood, of course - which grows more than triple that height in nature. But certainly respectable for any planted tree in an environment thousands of miles away from its native area.

  • Sara Malone Zone 9b

    Redwoods are native to an area with cool nights (even with the hottest summer temps) and abundant fog, from which they receive as much as 30% of their water.

  • davidrt28 (zone 7)

    I think the southernmost known redwood tree of any age is in Abbeville, SC. The northernmost (on the east coast as well!) is outside Philly.

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