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Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Posted by treeguy123 7a AL (My Page) on
Wed, May 30, 07 at 20:06

Today I received these from Forest Farm in very good condition:
1 Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
1 Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum)
1 Gray Birch (Betula populifolia)
1 Quaking Aspen (Populus tremuloides)

I potted each one in about 12 inch wide pots Because they are Not dormant and they have leafed out and we are currently in a unusual extreme drought, also because I think they would adjust better to our soil if I plant them in the ground a little later after they grow a larger root system in the pots.

Im reading conflicting information on the internet and I want everybody elses idea of how well the Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia will do here in the Southeast. Our climate is humid subtropical which mainly has cool rainy winters (average winter lows: 30F, extreme low: 0F) And Humid, pretty hot, scattered showery summers (Average summer highs: 90F, extreme high: 100F) (creek hollows are cooler). Some sites say the Redwood is not suited to the southeastern United States and some say they grow fine here.
USDA zone here is 7a/7b and upland soil is heavy loam clay (hard when dry, sticky when wet) The Lowland Soil is more organic, moist, and drains better.

What my current thinking is that the Giant Sequoia might be able to grow on the upland site as a yard tree OK, right? Because Ive read they have some drought tolerance? And the Coast Redwoods would struggle on the upland because of occasional moisture stress but would do well in the moist lowland site in a deep hollow that is highly sheltered from wind, lightning, and extreme heat.

Someday I would like to establish several Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the moist sheltered hollow so seeds can be produced since they are both dioecious (Having male and female flowers on separate trees).

So if anybody has any ideas on what they can and cant withstand and/or growing conditions please let me know. (Also if anybody has info on how well Gray birch or Quaking Aspen does here let me know also).
Note: This is one of the sites that say they can grow here:
Redwood Link

Thanks very much.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I'm in the PacNW and can only give you observations from these trees, planted December 2005 and since, in my yard.

Coast redwoods are finicky. They burn easily in cold and heat. They are tempermental. They want to be misted and watered frequently but don't want to be standing in a pool. So far my best luck has been with tiny seedlings of aptos blue from forest farm.

Sequoiadendrons -- less finicky but get winter burn in cold wind and temps and demand lots of water but not standing pools. They don't like heat above 80 degrees. Also like to be sprayed with water every morning early before the sun can burn them.

Quaking Aspen -- the first year they sort of just sat here but this spring they're growing and happy. One interesting thing, last spring after they were planted that winter each aspen tree got one huge deep green leaf but all others were small. It was as if advertising what it was capable of. This spring all leaves medium and no huge leaf.

Redwoods and sequoias don't like drought or heat and certainly when getting established demand a lot of coddling, misting, watering, monitoring, and praying. I've lost quite a few and it's very frustrating, especially since they're supposed to grow really well here. However, I'm seeing a lot of dead and dying sequoias while driving around Portland. And not many nurseries even bother carrying coast redwoods here since they just aren't doing well anymore. We've had a definite climate change ... more extremes and much longer hotter drier burny scorching relentless sun with no rain for months.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Three years ago I bought ten giant sequoias seedlings and gave three of them to some friends. I planted them in very large planters and they did great that spring and even doubled in size.

But then the summer came and all ten died. I've heard since that they don't do well in the deep south. I was living one mile from the beach and my friends were 20 miles inland. Biloxi area.

Now I'm trying coastal redwoods. I've heard they have a chance here.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Thanks everybody, I think when we buy more Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias to plant in our lowland sites, they should thrive. I'm planning on planting the Giant Sequoia in the yard or close to the Coast Redwood at the edge of the woods so they can receive extra soil moisture.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I'm in northern GA and growing a quaking aspen. I would plant it asap. They don't do well in one gallon containers. Not to be rude but your climate sounds miserable. Normally it doesn't get into the 90's that often here, usually in Aug. Last year was an unusaly heat and drought wave but even still upper 90's and 100's were not common. And we don't get as humid as you for as long. We've been stuck in 20-30% relative humidity. I think those trees are going to struggle in extreme heat and humidity but please keep us all informed. Or at least me. I'd like to know how they do.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I was thinking in the hollow area is should be almost like the CA home mountains with plenty of moisture from streams around ,rich soil, and in the hollow 80 to 85 is the max all summer and don't the trees normally live in humid summers with fog etc. in CA but just not the heat?


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I suspect the humid coastal climates on the west coast are cooool. Go to wunderground.com and type in redwood in the search box. The nat'l park comes up. Then check the "weather history" for last july and august and you'll see it doesn't get out of the 50's.
For other areas in CA where coast redwoods are grown, I suspect dry, low humidity and while there may be high- high temps, the night time lows are probably quite cool.

This should be interesting to see. I tried a Douglas fir last year but it didn't make it.


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Irrigation system a must

I'm just a beginner but I've already made big mistakes and I can tell you: an irrigation system is a must if you plant water-needing trees. Considering it takes 3 years to establish a tree in general, and then the weather is bonkers and there's drought which requires supplemental watering, it is more feasible financially to invest in a top-notch irrigation system when putting in landscaping than spending untold man-hours trying to coax these trees to survive for years.

I tried to get an irrigation system but every plumber etc I called in said it was too difficult because there's a fire hydrant on the property, the codes have become too stringent blah blah blah -- I should have insisted. I mourn that I only have a bit of 1/4 acre but actually I can't keep up with what I have.

Map out where you want to plant what and get that irrigation system installed!

Redwoods and sequoias demand attention and water, just so, not too much or too little.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Hi QQ,

It does get hot in coastal Calif for a period in the late summer and early autumn when there is more of a trend towards hot, dry easterly winds ('Diablo winds', 'Santa Ana winds'), keeping the fog and cool weather offshore. When I was in Humboldt Redwoods SP in mid September, it was very hot (about 30 to 33), with clear blue sky and no fog, and the ground was very dry. These hot dry conditions result in Coast Redwood being more drought and heat tolerant than one might expect from its cool conditions in the rest of the year.

Of Sequoiadendron, one point not mentioned yet on this thread is its susceptibility to fungal diseases in the combination of heat and humidity in the southeastern US. It can cope with dry heat, and cool humidity, but not the combination of heat and humidity together. Unfortunately, I reckon Treeguy will run into this problem fairly soon in Alabama.

Resin


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Ok, I did some searching and this is what I came up with on the Coast Redwoods:

Redwood occurs in a maritime Mediterranean climate, where the winters are cool and rainy, and the summers are dry. The mean precipitation is 70 inches, with 90 percent falling between October and May. Annual precipitation ranges from 25 to over 100 inches and most rain falls in winter months. (I guess the trees in the area with less rain live by a creek) (Yearly rain amount here is about 50 to 55 inches).
The dry summers are mitigated by a heavy fog belt. The fog reduces the drought stress of this hydrophilic plant by reducing evapotranspiration and adding soil moisture. (Rain and or streams here in the southeast summers make up for the fog). Redwoods beyond the fog belt appear to be limited to areas of high moisture. Currently there is considerable debate over the link between the fog belt and redwood distribution. Redwood does best in mild, humid climates. They grow very good in England.
In the natural range Summer temperatures ranging between 57F and 80F and rarely exceed 90F degrees. But some cultivated areas have show it to grow in summer temperatures that frequently exceed 100 degrees F and humidity is low (But it probably barely survives in dry or hot regions).
Redwoods will not grow in soils containing large amounts of magnesium and sodium. Trees reach maximum development on alluvial flats where soils have been built up by successive floods.

Conclusions on Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens):

1. Rain and/or streams here in the southeast summers make up for fog needed by the trees in the Dry summers of CA.

2. They do best in mild, humid climates that have summer temps between 60F and 80F but can take some rare 90s in the natural range. They have been known to take some 100s if the humidity is low and I assume if they have plenty of moisture.

3. Light is Full sun to dappled shade.

4. Redwood needs moist, well drained soil and it is a relatively drought-sensitive species that grows poor in heavy clay soil but grows good in deep, moist soils. It grows good in Loam and clay-loam soils with the potential for good moisture storage. Typical soils are Inceptisol and Ultisol soil orders. The common parent materials are greywacke sandstones, shales, and conglomerates. Also and the soils in such forested areas can be expected to have a pH of approximately 6.0 6.5.

Im going to look into Giant Sequoia later today this evening.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Not sure how I missed this thread earlier . . .

"What my current thinking is that the Giant Sequoia might be able to grow on the upland site as a yard tree OK, right? Because Ive read they have some drought tolerance? And the Coast Redwoods would struggle on the upland because of occasional moisture stress but would do well in the moist lowland site in a deep hollow that is highly sheltered from wind, lightning, and extreme heat."

Yes, I'd agree with that, though whether the conditions will differ from the regional general conditions enough to allow them to survive, is not certain. For Giant Sequoia, heat/humidity is as commented above the killer, while for Coast Redwood, the main risk will be severe winters; it is generally very marginal in zone 7, suffering bad frost burn below about -15 to -20C, and killed below about -20 to -23C.

Resin


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I started to explain how a warm humid night with heavily irragated plant in a protected shady spot could have problems with diseases just like with the turfgrass and birches I experiment with but I deleted it because I figured the poster already was well aware of this based on his other posts that have demonstrated he knows a thing or two about arboriculture.

I have a new policy and that's I plant the tree (or whatever) out in full sun in the compacted ground and water it a few times and either it lives or it doesn't. If it lives then hooray it's wonderful and if it dies then it sucks and whatever climate the tree came from can keep it.

Isn't that what we're trying to prove??? that something can grow here with only a reasonable amount of maintenance equivalent to that required by proven species?

If they can get a Ginkgo Biloba to grow at Disney World in clay loam shipped in from Oregon while a full time employee fans the thing down all day in the summer then a fork lift hauls the tree into a freezer in January so it can get its chilling requirement then that doesn't exactly count. That's cheating in fact.

Plant the tree in the best spot you can to give it a fighting chance but catering to it's every whim and trying to simulate the Redwood National Forest is not demonstrating something will grow in the SE, it's suspended animation.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

"I have a new policy and that's I plant the tree (or whatever) out in full sun in the compacted ground and water it a few times and either it lives or it doesn't"

In that case we'd all be restricting ourselves to Alnus cordata ;-)

Resin


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Thanks for the help everybody.

Quirkyquercus, why do Quaking Aspens not like growing in pots? Is it because of fast root growth?

Here is what I have found on the Giant sequoia:

Giant sequoia is found in a humid climate characterized by dry summers. Mean annual precipitation varies from 35 to 55 inches. Most precipitation comes in the form of snow between October and
April. Mean annual snowfall ranges from 144 to 197 inches and snow depths of 6.6 feet or greater are common. They seem to have a little more drought tolerance than Coast Redwood but would still need good moisture most of the time. Distribution of giant sequoia at lower elevations appears to be restricted to sites with available soil moisture throughout the summer drought period.
Mean daily maximum temperatures for July are typically 75 to 84 degrees (I guess they could take some rare 90s but I not totally sure). Mean minimum temperatures for January vary from 21 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit.
They do best in a moderately fertile, deep, well drained soil, in full sun to dappled shade. Sequoias are also found associated with a variety of different soils but they grow best in deep, well-drained sandy loams. Within groves, trees are densest in moist areas, such as drainage bottoms and meadow edges. Nevertheless, large vigorous individuals do grow in shallow and rocky soils when underground water is available. Seedlings and young saplings do best in partial shade. They like a cool or mild climate. Most giant sequoia groves are on granitic-based residual and alluvial soils. Some groves are on glacial outwash from granite. Other common parent materials include schistose, dioritic and andesitic rocks. Giant sequoia grows best in deep, well-drained sandy loams. It occurs with higher frequency on mesic sites, such as drainage bottoms and meadow edges. Soil pH ranges from 5.5 to 7.5, with an average of about 6.5. Long-term site occupancy develops soil of high fertility, good base status, and low bulk density. Except for its moisture content, soil typically plays only a minor role in influencing the distribution of the species.
It requires a year round soil moisture of at least 15-20 percent.
Low temperatures seem to limit the giant sequoia from growing at higher elevations, while hot dry summers limit it from growing at lower elevations.

Conclusions on Giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum):

1. Rain and/or streams here in the southeast winters make up for snowfall needed by the trees in of CA and moist ground or streams here during the summer mimic the natural areas in CA.

2. They do best in mild or warm climates that have summer temps between 75F and 85F but can take some unusual 90s in the natural range. I assume they do Not do good in high humidity combined with heat just like the Coast Redwood but could possibly handle it a little better maybe (correct me if I'm wrong)?

3. Light is Full sun to dappled shade. Seedlings and young saplings do best in partial shade.

4. They do best in a moderately moist fertile, deep, well drained sandy loam soils but they are also found associated with a variety of different soils. They seem to have a little more drought tolerance than Coast Redwood but would still need good moisture most of the time. Sometime vigorous individuals do grow in shallow and rocky soils when underground water is available. A large majority of giant sequoia groves are on granitic-based residual and alluvial soils. Some groves are on glacial outwash from granite. Other common parent materials include schistose, dioritic and andesitic rocks.


I'm planting the Coast Redwood in the microclimate hollow area and maybe the Giant sequoia also But I'm still tempted to plant the Giant sequoia out of the woods and around the clay yard somewhere in full light so we can view it. But if there is a pretty high chance it might die then I will surly plant it with the redwood or at least by the woods edge.


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young need dappled shade

Both these burn in hot sun and cold temps and wind.
When young they both need dappled shade, probably for the 1st 20 years.
I live near their natural climate and it's very hard to get them to survive here.
Especially the coast redwoods -- very finicky.

The one I have that has finally "taken" is watered and misted DAILY and is mulched with primo worm castings, and he goes through periods frequently that are alarming but has pulled through so far.

As sheltered, cool, even and moist as you can get would be wise.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Treeguy123.... Yes that is the reason

Resin.... I was perhaps exaggerating a little but I think you catch my drift.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Such a shame that these wonderful trees are so tricky to grow outside of their small native range.

Good luck!


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

There are Redwoods growing all over Cal. Every little town I passed thru 2 weeks ago had them planted there. Visalia, Sacramento, Mariposa, Tulare, NAPA valley, etc. I had the impression that the redwood was a tougher tree than the Sequoia as it was planted and growing in so many different places in Cal. Will be interesting to see how your trees turn out. My bet will be on the redwood to succeed over the sequoia. Just thankful their cousin, the bald cypress does well in Tx.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

The climatic parameters of a species' native range tell us something about the species' tolerances, but nothing about its potential in other zones. That is basically something to be determined by test plantings. Of course I don't mean a tropical species is likely to survive in permafrost country -- but within reasonable limits.
As for redwood and giant sequoia -- Placerville, where I live in California gets an average of 39 inches of precip a year, virtually none of it from snow and none between June and September. Summers almost always have a spate of days with temps exceeding 90 F. Winters always have frost, sometimes down to 25 F. In general this is a reasonably mild Mediterranean foothill climate. Both species are commonly planted here, and both have reached sizes of about 60 in. dbh and over 100 ft tall. So giant sequoia doesn't need a cold snowy climate, nor redwood a moist one, at least not for survival of planted trees. The climatic parameters of their native ranges may be more determined by their reproductive-system needs in the context of their native ecosystems than by brute survival capabilities of established trees. Thus it is a fallacy to think you can reliably predict a species' performance in a climate that differs from its home range in the absence of empirical evidence.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Treeguy123,
Based on experience with the Coast Redwood and Giant Sequoia in GA, the redwood does great. Mine grows 2-3 feet per year. I watered it the first couple of years, but it appears to be fairly drought tolerant now.

Giant Sequoia - probably won't make it through the summer. Somebody mentioned on a thread about a year ago that the high night time temperatures in summer in the Southeast do it in.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I found this posting on a different thread:

eric_9b z9b Orlando (My Page) on Wed, Jan 10, 07 at 8:34

There is a Sequoiadendron giganteum 'Hazel Smith' growing in the US National Arboretum. It is near the Metasequoia grove and about 30' tall. I don't remember seeing a Sequoia sempervirens there.

Here at Leu Gardens in Orlando,FL we have a Sequoia sempervirens 'Majestic Beauty' growing well. We have tried S. giganteum and several cultivars but none have survived.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I have a Giant Sequoia 'Glaucum' from Wayside Gardens. I bought and planted 2 in April 1998. One struggled, and I took it out. The other one is around 10 feet tall now, it was 2.5 feet tall when I planted it. It has survived extreme cold, our October Surprise storm and setting out new growth. It appears healthy.

I am curious of what fertilizer is best for Giant Sequoias?

There is a "mature" sequoia gigantium my town of Hamburg, NY that is approximately 70 - 80 feet tall. I am planning to stop sometime and ask the owners about the history of this tree.
Treeguy - since you are/were from West Seneca, this tree is on Scranton Road, next to a large old brick house near the curve, halfway to Camp Road.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

"I am curious of what fertilizer is best for Giant Sequoias?"

By and large, they don't need any, unless a soil test shows a very severe deficiency in anything.

Resin


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Giant sequoias do not do well when their environment changes. Expect the needles to brown out and appear dead. Take care of the tree as if still alive and it may start growing new needles the next year close to the trunk of the tree and near the base of some of the larger branches. If you grow them from seed in their permanent location they will do much better, even in full sun or partial shade. I dont know why this is but the slightest changes, if not very gradual, puts a great deal of sress on the Giant Sequoia.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

  • Posted by bboy z8 WA USA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 10, 07 at 16:51

Many plant species can and have been grown well outside of the parameters implied by climate conditions in their native ranges. One point to keep in mind is that in most (all?) instances the wild population of a plant is growing where it has been able to survive for a very long time. We have cultivated coast redwoods here in western Washington over 100' tall. However, in the 1990 winter there was a general browning of redwood trees, showing that it is too cold up here for them to live for thousands of years. On the outer coast Sitka spruce replaces coast redwood north of California as the signature tree.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Interesting to add to that, of the two in Britain, Sequoiadendron grows the larger (to 54m vs 48m) and is more tolerant of wind burn), but Sequoia sempervirens is the one where natural regeneration by seed has been observed the more often (I'm not actually aware of any cases of Sequoiadendron regeneration here)

Resin


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Based on reported sightings and my own discoveries, I came up with a growing region for S.g. in the East. See the link below.

I'm always on the lookout for established trees, please post photos of any you find. Thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing S.g. in the East


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

Some good info on this thread.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

About the pots, they can be problamatic with soil compaction, drainage, and heating/cooling issues.

Regular dirt or top soil turns gets real hard in pots around here so I have to use potting soil which is an odd mix compared to dirt in the yard.

Drainage is kinda self explanitory. No natural moisture, no water table, 100% dependant on guessing when it needs watered.

In the sun dark and even light colored pots get warm and so does the soil in them. My guess is some trees care more about warm roots than others. Same for short cold snaps. While the ground is slower to change temps with every passing storm. I've read this can be fixed by partially burying the pots.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

I would not have bumped an old thread myself, but while it's up, I should correct an inadequacy of it. Nobody mentions (that I noticed) there are large old Sequoia semprevirens in Abbeville, SC, Williamsburg, VA, and Swarthmore, PA. BBoy may well have observed some browning in the PNW freeze of 1990, where temperatures were generally above 0F, but I saw the 2 Williamsburg trees after 0F in 1994 and there was absolutely no evidence of injury. Those trees were planted in 1955 or so. The greatest threat to them in the SE, provided they have a soil environment that suits them, is the high winds and lightning that they do not experience in their native habitat. In fact a large section of one of the Williamsburg trees fell in hurricane Isabel in 2003 but before that the trees were almost 100' tall. Don't plant one next to your house!
The Swarthmore tree must be a particularly hardy clone, hopefully someone will market it. I have reason to believe that tree might have been planted as early as the 1930s and would have withstood a number of excursions well below 0F. Camellia Forest had a plant of this clone but lost it in the drought of 2007 when water resources were very scarce and had to be allocated to saving the nursery stock. (they had to use water from a mineral rich pond and all their camellias have iridescent leaves as a result) I'm not sure theirs ever got big enough to take cuttings from it, because I don't remember seeing it in any of their catalogs.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

They are both used a bit for landscaping in Canberra, but the climate there is a bit dry, especially for Sequoiadendron. They do OK if carefully situated, but don't like hot, dry periods.


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RE: Coast Redwoods and Giant Sequoias in the Southeast

There are Giant Sequoias growing all over the planet in all kinds of climates. From what I have gathered they can be extremely drought intolerant for the first five to ten years, depending on soil and drainage. The other hazard that seems persistant is fungus for trees below 200 meters in altitude.
Check out a pair of thriving Giant Sequoia trees in Watkinsville, Georgia (east of Atlanta / South of Athens).
http://www.giant-sequoia.com/gallery/usa/georgia/


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