Sequoiadendron giganteum
  • Sequoiadendron giganteum
  • Sequoiadendron giganteum
  • Sequoiadendron giganteum

Sequoiadendron giganteum


(Giant Redwood) A vigorous and spectacular evergreen conifer, Sequoiadendron giganteum is well known for its thick, spongy, red bark and tall, conical shape.

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A vigorous and spectacular evergreen conifer, Sequoiadendron giganteum is well known for its thick, spongy, red bark and tall, conical shape. Eventually one of the largest trees in the world and reaches their maximum height of 90+ m (295+ ft) after 800 to 1000 years. After this the girth will then increase until they eventually reach a maximum age of up to 3000 years.

Sequoiadendron giganteum is a majestic tree which although very tall actually requires less horizontal garden space than an average sized Quercus robur (English Oak tree).

An ideal tree for memorial planting, large gardens or as an unusual windbreak, Sequoiadendron giganteum are usually fairly slow growing in the first year as they settle down in position and then vigorous.

  • Position: Full sun.
  • Soil: Moist or well drained, fertile soil. Sequoiadendron giganteum does not enjoy shallow, chalky soils.
  • Hardiness: Very hardy.
  • Rate of Growth: Slow until settled down then vigorous.
  • Habit: Eventually a very tall tree with a conical, upright habit.
    • Height: 50+ m (164 ft) in the U.K.
    • Spread: 10 m (32 ft).
  • Notes: Once established, Sequoiadendron giganteum are resistant both to wind and drought.

Further information

Extract from an information poster in our arboretum

Introduced as seed in 1853 some Giant Redwoods have reached a height of 160 feet already in Britain. They are sometimes known as wellingtonias, to commemorate the death of the Duke of Wellington in 1852.

Sequoiadendron means tree of Sequoia. Sequoiah was the son of a German trader and a Cherokee Indian woman. He devised an alphabet for the Cherokee people, who soon produced a newspaper in their own language. Neither Sequoiah, nor the Cherokee people ever lived within the range of the redwoods and would probably never have seen the tree which celebrates their name.

Giant Redwoods come from inland California where some specimens have lived over 3000 years and weigh over 2,500 tonnes. A specimen of Giant Redwood in Yosemite we have seen (the Grizzly Giant) has a girth of 92 feet and they can get larger still. These trees can also reach nearly 300 feet high but they are not the tallest trees in the world; this honour now belongs to Coastal Redwoods that can attain nearly 400 feet in height.

The tallest trees known in recent times were Eucalyptus regnans, some of which were over 450 feet high in Australia before being felled by European settlers in the 19th century. Astonishingly some plants live much longer than Redwoods. There are lichens growing in the Alps thought to be over 7,500 years old.

Gently squeeze the trunk of an established tree to appreciate the thick reddish-brown, spongy bark which protects the trunk from forest fires.

Although enormously tall, many larger gardens have room for this tree, which really only requires airspace; old plants have huge trunks but their spread is limited.

During the winter of 2006 / 2007 we planted 75 Giant Redwoods, all around 6 inches high in our woodland gardens and we hope that in forthcoming years this will become known as the Smisby Giant Redwood Grove. Visit now and again in 800 years time to see how they get on!

Data sheet

How Much Sun
Full Sun, Partial or Dappled Shade
Mature Size
Tree - Large (over 50 ft tall)
Growing Conditions
Soil Type: Most Soils (not to fussy), Soil Type: Dry / Sandy, Special: Windy & Exposed, Special: Coastal Areas
Special Features
Evergreen, Ornamental Bark / Colourful Winter Stems, Screening/Hedge

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