A sequoia is an immense type of tree that grows in places like Alabama, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and southern Australia, to name a few. It generally needs a fitting climate to grow efficiently. But, are you allowed to plant sequoias in your garden? Definitely, yes.
Planting sequoias in your backyard can provide you with abundant shade. These strong and enormous trees won’t be easily eroded by flood or blown by the wind. They also absorb a huge amount of water as they grow. A sequoia is capable of lessening carbon dioxide from greenhouse gasses.
In this article, we will be talking about the types of sequoias, how to plant and grow them in a yard, and the types of soil they prefer. We will also be discussing how fast and big this tree can grow, the ways to fertilize it, and how to organize them in a yard.
What Are the Three Types of Redwoods?
Sequoias, or redwoods, are eco-friendly trees. Indeed, they help reduce the quantity of carbon dioxide and absorb it in their fibers. There are three types of sequoias: California Redwood or Coast Redwood (the tallest ones), Giant Sequoia, and Dawn Redwoods (the smallest ones).
Redwoods can lessen the carbon dioxide found in greenhouse gasses. Thus, by growing this tree in your backyard, you can help reduce these gasses, which contribute to global warming.
- California Redwood or Coast/al Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirens)
This tree features a vivid mixture of red and brown colors. The highest California redwood ever recorded, named Hyperion, reaches up to 380 feet and 9.7 inches, according to the 2019 Guinness World Records.
California redwoods definitely are the highest trees recorded in history. Aside from their tall heights, their diameters are also undoubtedly thick. The downside is that this tree is not ideal to grow in a backyard.
- Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)
This species is also called giant redwood, Wellingtonia, and Sierran or Serian redwood. John Muir, the “Father of the National Parks,” also called it a “big tree.” This is the only species left on the genus of Sequoiadendron.
The Fire Effects Information System said that giant sequoias have an average height of 250 to 275 feet. The trunk’s diameter reaches about 15 to 20 feet. Finally, the leaves of this tree are described as having the shape of an awl with a wrinkled bark.
- Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia)
The dawn redwood is a deciduous tree found in China. The color of the leaves changes depending on the season. The metasequoia is also the smallest type of redwood.
This tree can grow to 120 feet and up. According to the Monumental Trees’ website, the tallest dawn redwood ever recorded was 41.45 meters tall. This is one of the best sequoia options to plant in your backyard.
You may also want read our article about: Planting Oak Trees here!
Requirements to Grow a Sequoia in Your Backyard
First, your place shouldn’t have intense climates because sequoias will not be capable to withstand harsh conditions. They also need sufficient water as they grow. Lastly, you should make the soil reach the optimum pH levels.
- They need to grow in a moderate climate
Areas under zone 7, 8, and 9 are common places where you can find the redwoods. Although they are more likely to grow in these specific zones, that shouldn’t stop you from planting one. There are just several considerations you need to observe.
The United States Department of Agriculture has designated a “hardiness zone” to identify certain areas’ climates and temperatures. With such, we can easily identify what areas a certain plant is good to grow in. In some instances, plants can’t resist a place’s conditions.
- Redwoods need plenty of water
This type of tree is really big compared to its counterparts. Even dawn redwoods, which are considering the smallest, are still huge. Their growth process will also require a large amount of water and nutrients.
Climate is one of the most important factors when growing redwoods. What’s stopping everyone from planting one of these trees in a certain place is the water supply. The worst-case scenario happens if they are capable of sucking all the water from their roots.
If you plan to grow redwoods in your backyard, make sure you can provide them with plenty of water. The best option is to create water irrigation specifically for your tree. Doing so will prevent it from getting the water provisions under the ground, leaving them dry.
- Optimize your soil
Another ideal way to grow a redwood successfully is by knowing your soil’s pH levels, which can help you know whether it is acidic or base. Plants require specific levels to grow healthily.
For redwoods, the ideal pH level of your soil is from 5.5 to 7.5. Based on the pH scale, at such levels, your soil is optimal for the growth of such trees.
There are ways to test the soil in your backyard, for example, by using a pH test kit. Although, you can also make a homemade mixture to do so.
What Type of Soil Do Sequoias Prefer?
Sequoias grow with optimum conditioned soil. The soil should be moist, loose, and water-extracted. Although these types of trees may require this sort of soil, you may still grow redwoods on other kinds of grounds.
However, your tree will grow slower if you don’t use the optimal soil. The type of soil can help them absorb their needed nutrients and water. As mentioned above, soil with a pH level between 5.5 and 7.5 is optimal.
Note that redwoods’ soil should always be moist since these trees need a lot of water as they absorb a huge amount. That way, you can avoid them completely drying out the soil.
How to Grow a Sequoia in Your Backyard?
First, you should choose between harvested and commercial seeds. Allow seed dormancy through the process of cold stratification. After the process, you can plant the seeds in the pots, then slowly expose them to sunlight as they grow. Transfer them outside, in a space that provides a large enough diameter for a sequoia.
- Choose your seeds
Sequoias are available in commercial and harvested seeds. The two differ as you can buy commercial seeds in markets. Meanwhile, harvested seeds come from the cone you can see on the ground by the tree.
It is possible to grow a sequoia using harvested cones, but it may not grow effectively. If you want to use this method, find green cones near grown redwood trees. Dehydrate the cone as the seeds will drop through its openings.
Overall, the most suggested method is to get new seeds. You can order or buy commercial seeds from plants and seeds stores. These seeds are more likely to grow into beautiful sequoias than harvested seeds.
- Increase the seed dormancy
This process consists of exposing the seeds to cold temperatures and a damp state. Redwoods are conifers and need such conditions to make the seeds’ shell soft and allow dormancy.
You can increase the seed dormancy at home. To do so, place the seeds on a paper towel and fold it to enclose them. After that, slightly moist the paper towel, then place it inside a resealable plastic bag. Make sure to allow some air and put it in the fridge for four weeks.
After these four weeks, place the plastic bag in a dark area at room temperature. It will permit the sprouting of seeds, which you will then be able to plant. Wait a few days before taking out the sprouted seeds.
Some seeds may have not sprouted yet. You will need to return them to the dark place and let them germinate.
- Plant the seeds
Make sure you have already prepared the soil according to the tree’s requirements. The needed soil is loose and drained, yet moist.
Plant the seeds after you take them out of the resealable plastic bag. We advise you to apply the cold stratification before you plant them (see step 2). Always moist the soil and avoid flooding the seeds.
- Dark areas first, then sunlight
Don’t expose the seeds automatically under direct sunlight to protect the soil against extreme dryness as the seeds absorb the water in it. See if they grow a few leaves as it is the sign that they will grow with a healthy stem.
If the plant starts to grow, slowly expose it to sunlight. However, don’t impulsively put it in direct sunlight as it can damage its development. Remember to always moist the soil.
- Transfer the plants
Wait for the plants to grow at least 4 inches before transplanting them. We advise you to bring the pots of the plants outside when you transplant them. Use fertilizer on the soil of your trees for good development.
Don’t forget to reserve adequate space for the growing sequoias. An estimated radius of 10 meters is ideal for one of these trees.
How Fast and Big Can a Sequoia Grow?
A sequoia’s trunk grows by two inches yearly. As of now, the biggest sequoia tree recorded currently is General Sherman. It is 275 feet tall and has a 36-foot trunk in diameter. Not only are sequoias the biggest trees in the world; they also grow about 4 feet after three years in pots.
We mentioned General Sherman as it demonstrates that a sequoia can grow at such height. This type of tree can definitely grow with proper care and in ideal surroundings. The trunk diameter, once the tree is 10 years old, is estimated to be 20 inches wide.
Sequoias also grow fast. The only factor that will stop their growth is complete exposure to sunlight. It will indeed affect their trunks and they will become heavy.
How Do You Fertilize a Sequoia?
First, keep in mind the soil and temperatures at your place. When using fertilizer into your soil, you should sprinkle it in a 10-10-10 ratio. Make sure that you dissolve the fertilizer after and avoid flooding the soil.
Besides, know the temperature in your region. If you live in a hot place or are currently going through a hot season, avoid fertilizing as this will result in extra growth of the plant’s leaves, roots, and stem.
For cold regions, avoid applying fertilizer when it is below 60°F. Hence, 60-70°F, during spring and fall, is the ideal temperature to fertilize your plants.
How Far Apart Do You Plant Sequoia Trees?
Generally, you should offer 15 to 30 feet for each sequoia. Measure the space before transferring the plant to the backyard.
Bear in mind to plant your sequoia about 30 feet away from the house, water lines, and all pipes or canals that supply water in your area to avoid the tree sucking up all the water provided. Indeed, they need to absorb a huge amount of water as they grow bigger.
Plant the tree in an area where you can avoid the outcome of winter snow to your house and other plants. Other plants in the garden are vulnerable during the winter. Thus, placing a sequoia in a spot where it can escalate the cold in the garden can kill the plants.
Why separate Sequoias?
There are a few reasons why you need to separate them. We discuss them below.
- May dry up the ground
They not only grow really tall but also rapidly each year. Thus, giving them space prevents each of them from snatching the water from another.
Putting them close to each other can dry the ground, or worse, can kill your sequoia. Each plant affects the amount of water they absorb. If one sequoia has enough water, then the other one may lack some. This will happen if you plant them too close to each other.
- Nutrients competition
Apart from the water, it is also possible each plant will compete for nutrients. You may have distributed fertilizer evenly, but if they are near each other, they will battle for it. The result will be the same as for the lack of water: the plants may grow weak or die.
Every part of this tree grows huge, even its roots. Thus, keeping each of them at the required distance prevents them from competing with their needs.
What to Expect When Growing a Sequoia in Your Backyard?
Sequoias can provide beautiful shade in a yard but can bring several disadvantages. Expect that they will consume a huge space in your yard and grow their roots enormously. Keep them away from the water supply provided around your area. Also, you need to maintain their height by cutting them.
- They constantly grow
Sequoias don’t only grow their stem but all their body parts. As they grow every year, they’ll need more space and water.
- They take a lot of space in a backyard
Since they are large trees, they will be using a huge space in your backyard. Sequoias can absorb everything until it dries. Thus, be careful when planting anything anywhere in your yard and ensure to put your sequoias away from water connections and supplies.
- Expect to have to cut them
As with any type of maintenance, after cutting your sequoias, they will grow back. However, controlling their sizes also aims to reduce and control the shade they provide.
- Their roots also grow larger
Just like they grow above the ground, sequoias’ roots also grow immensely. Their roots will probably compete with both water and nutrients underground if you plant them near each other. They can also damage water pipes and septic tanks as they grow.
Sequoia trees are massive, beautiful trees. Their sizes can be a bit scary if they grow old. But with their unique features, they can offer you more than enough shade in your backyard. This tree can also reduce greenhouse gasses and emits oxygen back. Therefore, planting this tree is a win-win situation as you will have shade and contribute to helping the Earth.