The coast redwood is a tree valued for its size — it grows nearly 3 feet or more in height every year. (Great Plant Pick)

The coast redwood is a tree valued for its size — it grows nearly 3 feet or more in height every year. (Great Plant Pick)

Great Plant Pick: Sequoia sempervirens, coast redwood

This tree is a specimen valued for its size — it grows nearly 3 feet or more in height every year.

What: Sequoia sempervirens, aka coast redwood, is clearly at the top end of the size scale. The tallest living organisms on the planet, trees of this species are known to add nearly 3 feet or more in height every year, eventually surpassing 300 feet in their native habitat off the coasts of northern California and southern Oregon. Coast redwood is, nevertheless, an excellent garden plant, albeit for the larger garden or park. In the garden, this is truly a specimen plant valued not only for its size but also its soft-green, evergreen needles and its thick, fire-resistant, red-brown bark. Its natural companion is the wee evergreen perennial redwood sorrel (Oxalis oregana), which runs around beneath it like a mouse under an elephant.

Where: This enormous tree needs a large area to reach its fullest potential. It is quite adaptable and grows in full sun to deep shade. It will be denser in sun and more open and lacey in shade. Avoid planting it near buildings or pavement to limit damage from the massive roots that develop as it matures. It prefers a cool coastal climate with moist to well-drained or sandy soil.

Size: This tree will grow to be 100 feet tall and 25 feet wide when mature.

Care: The coast redwood needs occasional watering during dry weather. Little pruning is needed. Consult a professional for any tree work.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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