Black Oak's Blog

398px-Sequoia_sempervirens_BigSurThe Tree of the Week (TOTW) this week is the Coast Redwood. An easy to species to love, the tallest trees in the world (taller than the statue of liberty), their latin name is Sequoia sempervirens, and grow naturally in a 450-mile strip along the Western Coast, from southern Oregon to central California.

One of the amazing things about the Coast Redwood is the size of their cone, for a tree so big, they are only 1 inch long! And the seeds themselves are the size of a tomato's.


Some more great info on the Coast Redwood from the California State Parks website:

Coast redwoods range from southern Oregon to central California, extending not more than fifty miles inland- only as far as the coastal climate has its influence. Fog plays a vital role in the survival of these trees, protecting them from the summer drought conditions typical of this area. They also need abundant winter rain and moderate year round temperatures. In ideal conditions a coast redwood can grow 2-3 feet in height annually, but when the trees are stressed from lack of moisture and sunlight they may grow as little as one inch per year.

Because these trees are so tall, the treetop needles are exposed to more dry heat than the needles of branches in the dense canopy below. To compensate for this, redwoods grow treetop needles with tight spikes that conserve moisture, due to little evaporative surface. The lower branches, on the other hand, produce flat needles in order to catch additional light through the thick canopy of branches. 

These trees have shallow root systems that extend over one hundred feet from the base, intertwining with the roots of other redwoods. This increases their stability during strong winds and floods. 

Redwoods are naturally resistant to insects, fungi, and fire because they are high in tannin and do not produce resin or pitch. Their thick, reddish, pithy bark also provides protection and insulation for the tree. Even a downed tree can survive The blackened hollows you will see when you walk through the grove were caused by a fire in 1926, and are a testament to the trees' remarkable ability to survive.

Redwood trees flower during the wet and rainy months of December and January. They produce cones that mature the next fall. Redwood cones are about an inch long and they produce tiny seeds, about the same size as a tomato seed. While each tree can produce 100,000 seeds annually, the germination rate is very low. Most redwoods grow more successfully from sprouts that form around the base of a tree, utilizing the nutrients and root system of a mature tree. When the parent tree dies, a new generation of trees rise, creating a circle of trees that are often called fairy rings.




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