Sequoias trees are the biggest and arguably one of the most beautiful tree species on the planet. Currently, the world record holder is a Coast Redwood named “Hyperion” that stands at a stunning 379.1 feet tall!
When asking yourself if you can grow a sequoia in your backyard, the answer is yes, you can. But there are factors other than the tree’s height and size you will want to take into consideration before you do so. Let’s dig a little deeper (pardon my pun) to everything you need to know before planting a sequoia in your backyard.
Related reading: How to Grow Sequoia Trees from Seed.
What Are the 3 Types of Redwoods?
There are three main species of redwoods that you can grow in your yard, should you decide to do so.
California Redwood or Coast Redwood (Sequoia Sempervirens) – This is the tallest tree in the world. The Coast Redwood is taller and more slender than the others and could grow over 300 feet tall. Would that be ok with your neighbors?
Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) – This species isn’t quite as tall, but has a much thicker base and overall look and can live up to 3,200 years old! General Sherman, a specimen located in Giant Forest in Sequoia National park is close to 275 feet tall.
Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia) – Finally there is the Dawn Redwood which is the “smallest” of them all that can reach over 100 feet tall. The tallest on record is around 140 feet. This species grows fast – at a rate of around 2 feet per year!
Free Sequoia Seeds
To show our appreciation to our readers, we are giving away FREE Sequoia seeds (while supplies last). Hurry before they are gone!
Where Have Sequoias Successfully Grown in the World?
Sequoias naturally grow in the Pacific Northwest, Northern California and Central California. You may be surprised to know that trees have successfully grown in almost every state in the USA as well as many parts of the world including Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, Argentina and more. For a list of places where you can see a Redwood or Sequoia near you, check out the Giant Sequoia directory. Look on the left side of the website for a menu to choose a location near you.
Basic Requirements to Grow a Sequoia in Your Backyard
Now that you have seen proof that sequoias have been grown in many different countries around the world, there are a few requirements necessary in order for you to be able to grow one.
The first requirement is that you don’t live in an extreme climate – such as the far north or the opposite in a hot, dry desert environment. Are there similar trees growing where you live such as pine or cedar? If so, you should be good to go.
Sequoias, typically are found in zones 6, 7 & 8, but do not let that deter you if you are in a colder or hotter zone. Sequoias have grown in Florida, Hawaii and as far north as Minnesota and Vermont.
There are a few things you can do to help increase the odds of your tree surviving for a long time. The first thing you can do is to create a basin with the optimal soil conditions where the Sequoia will be planted. Use a rich, moist and well-drained soil with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5.
You need to think long-term about this tree. Suppose it lives a full life of several hundred or thousand years? Sure, you won’t be around then so it technically won’t be your problem, but you may want to consider the next few decades and how it might impact a family property or neighbors. 🙂
Suppose your tree grows to be 100 feet tall. What if it fell over? Would it land on your house or a neighbor’s house? Would the trunk grow so large that it would cause damage on your property?
Sequoias eventually require an adequate water supply – will you be able to provide enough water to keep it alive? If you receive a fairly balanced amount of rainfall and typically don’t go through a long dry spell every year, that may be good enough provided you can compensate with your own water during any extended dry periods.
To summarize, the best environment would be a large amount of land or a very large front or backyard. You need an adequate water supply the bigger they get, but water supply shouldn’t be a problem in the beginning months while it is still small. Get your soil optimized as mentioned above and who knows, your grandkids may be the owners of the tallest tree in your area!
Should You Grow One?
Now that you have read the optimal conditions to grow and keep a sequoia alive, you can now make the decision on if you want to grow one or not. The main factors will be the amount of water it will require as it gets bigger and how much space it takes up. The worst case scenario, you can always chop it down, right? 🙂
What to Expect When Growing a Sequoia
Once you are ready to grow your Sequoia, first pick out a place to plant it on your property that will get plenty of sunlight. Make sure it is far enough away from your house to not cause potential damage in the future. But, you also need to keep in mind how you can provide water if you need to artificially.
A Sequoia may add 1 inch of tree trunk per year which is the equivalent of two inches in diameter. By the end of 10 years, you could have a trunk almost two feet in diameter.
Expect a growth rate of around 2 – 4 feet per year. The more optimal the environment, the bigger and faster it will grow. Be very careful with the roots of the Sequoia as they tend to be very fragile. Even stepping on the soil above the shallow root system could be enough to break the roots and kill the tree.
Your Sequoia can survive the winter provided it doesn’t get too dry. If you have snow, your tree should be fine as this means it is still getting moisture. It’s not a bad idea to build a cold frame or another type of protection in the beginning months/years.
Consider keeping it in a large pot for the first few years until it gets big enough to survive on its own and has adapted to the local environment. This way you can bring it inside if the weather gets really harsh. Just be sure not to shock your tree with drastic temperature changes too quickly.
If your Sequoia, starts to look “ill” there are a number of things you can do to keep it from dying including removing dead limbs (as close to the trunk as you can) and keeping the area around the base of the tree clean so that various critters that could cause damage aren’t attracted to it.
To summarize, yes you can grow a sequoia in your backyard, you just need to consider the long-term consequences for maintaining the tree once it gets really big. Giant Sequoias and Coast Redwoods are among the most majestic trees on earth. If you have enough land and time, by all means, consider growing one or even a few! Perhaps in a few hundred years, the little tree you planted will have turned into a landmark? Or, plant a tree as a memorial to a loved one to be enjoyed for generations to come.
Please keep Cool Plant Blog bookmarked, as we will soon have an article on how to grow Sequoias from seed and include more detailed growing instructions.