WHAT: Once known only from the fossil record, dawn redwood Metasequoia glyptostroboides) was discovered growing in China in 1941 by a Chinese forester. Only 1,500 trees remained of this plant, but seeds of it were sent around the world.
Its success and adaptability are remarkable, for it is a beautiful tree.
WHY PLANT IT: Its fernlike branchlets are delicate green in spring and the needles turn russet in autumn.
Their fine texture contrasts well with the larger leaves of many broadleaf trees.
Dawn redwood has an open branching structure with a dramatic, butressed trunk and reddish-brown bark, giving winter interest in the landscape.
WHERE: Dawn redwood requires ample space and is spectacular as a specimen or planted in groves. Plant in full sun.
It will grow best in moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate poor compacted soils, sand and clay.
Once established it is drought tolerant, and it will tolerate standing water.
Little pruning is needed to keep its stately form. but the lower limbs can be removed to show off its interesting trunk as the tree ages.
SIZE: This deciduous conifer will grow to about 100 feet with a 30-foot spread at maturity.