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Dawn Redwood Tree
Dawn redwood is one of the most beautiful trees in North American gardens and makes a good addition to your yard if you have the right spot. That spot needs to be able to accommodate a large tree—dawn redwood is fast-growing and can reach 70 feet tall, or more.
Though it looks like an evergreen during the growing season as it’s clothed in mid-green needles that are soft to the touch, the foliage turns russet-red in autumn before gracefully falling from the branches.
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Where to Plant Dawn Redwood
This easy-to-grow tree adds a soft, elegant look to yards and landscapes with its lush needles, graceful pyramidal form, and elegant branching pattern. It can easily put on more than 3 feet of growth in a year.
A deciduous tree, it's useful for casting shade and adding privacy to decks, patios, and other outdoor living areas during the spring and summer months. When strategically placed, it can help shade your home and reduce your air conditioning bills.
Even though it has needles, it's not an evergreen—so dawn redwood isn't a good choice for windbreaks or privacy during the cold-weather months.
Caring For Dawn Redwood
Because of its size, dawn redwood needs a spot in full sun—otherwise it will outgrow and shade other trees around it. It does best in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter (such as compost, coconut coir, or peat moss). If your soil has a high clay content, give it the best-possible start by amending the soil liberally with organic matter at planting time, then topdress with 2 inches of organic matter over the soil underneath the tree's canopy in late fall or early spring.
Easy to grow, dawn redwood is a prehistoric tree and has been growing for more than 50 million years in Asia. As such, it holds up to a wide range of conditions. It's best to avoid drought, however—especially dry soil slows its growth and can cause the foliage to go brown in summer, dropping early. Be sure to provide this tree with good irrigation during the spring and summer months.
Dawn redwood typically doesn't require any pruning if you put it in the right spot. Take care not to shear it back; it doesn't take to pruning as well as most other deciduous trees.
It's a fast-growing tree on its own, but if you'd like to encourage your dawn redwood to reach lofty heights quicker, fertilize in spring with a timed-release fertilizer (follow the directions on the product packaging). Any general-purpose type will do.