The mighty redwood grows over 200 feet.
image by Miguel Vieira/Flickr.com
The majestic redwood, or Sequoia sempervirens, grows native along the California coast. The tallest trees reach above 360 feet and the oldest date back 2,000 years. When deciding to grow a redwood, not only must you consider its extreme size but also its incredibly rapid rate of growth. Once established, a redwood adds 5 to 6 feet each year and has been known to grow 150 feet tall over the course of one lifetime. Mary Giambalvo, Master Gardener, compares growing a redwood to keeping an elephant as a pet.
Purchase 20 to 30 redwood seeds from your local vendor. You may have to order these online if redwood is not native to your area. Be warned--redwood may not successfully in an area outside of its region. It needs steady, cool temperatures with humid air and no scorching summers.
Plant the seeds shallowly under potting soil in a peat pot. Heavily water the pot. Place a plastic bag over the pot and use a rubber band to seal the bag.
Store the peat pot in a cooler area of your home, such as the basement, and only allow indirect light to penetrate the soil. Always keep the soil moist but never soaked and never allow the soil to dry out.
Move the seeds to a container once they have sprouted. Keep in mind, only 5 percent of the redwood seeds are viable and it may take many tries before a successful germination.
Mix a 1:1 ratio of potting soil and native soil and add a handful of balanced fertilizer. Fill the container with the mix and plant the seedling an inch deep. Water thoroughly and daily, keeping the soil moist but never soaked.
Prepare the soil in the tree's permanent location 2 to 3 days before planting. Wet the soil and turn it with a shovel, lightly aerating the ground. Mix compost into the soil to give it a nutrient-rich boost.
Dig a hole that is twice as wide and exactly as deep as the container your seedling has been planted in. Do this on the day you plan to plant the tree. This will be a permanent location and should be shaded and preferably near water so the area is humid. Remember that the tree will need a large amount of space. Never plant the tree near any buildings or power wires.
Mix three handfuls of a balanced fertilizer to the soil pulled from the hole. Gently pull the seedling from the container at the roots, wet them, and place the seedling in the hole. Cover the hole with the mixed backfill. Water the area heavily, wait for the soil to settle and re-cover any exposed roots.
Create a water ring by building a 2 inch high and 4 inch thick ring of soil around the tree. The ring should be 2 to 3 feet away from the tree on all sides. Fill the inside of the ring with mulch.
Water the area inside the ring daily and keep the soil moist at all times for the first 2 to 3 weeks. The water ring will gradually disappear signaling that the tree has become properly established.
Fertilize the tree every spring with a balanced slow-release, granular fertilizer. However, redwoods grow so rapidly, fertilizer is rarely needed.