Our baby (dawn redwood) leaves home

In 2007, we wrote about the whip of dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) that Sarah acquired in 2006 at Canada Blooms. Our fledgling tree, nursed along by neighbour M., has now flown the coop, and is planted in a sunny spot just across the street.

Dawn redwoods are said variously to be hardy to USDA Zone 4-5/Canada Zone 5-6. That means Toronto-area gardeners might be able to grow them, if they can provide a sunny and relatively moisture-retentive location. We’ve given it the first requirement, and will be crossing our fingers about the second, hoping we can provide enough water to get it established.

Dawn redwoods are growing well near the bowling greens at the foot of Kew Beach Park on Queen Street East. These living fossils (similar to the gingko in that their leaves have been found preserved in stone), were thought to be long extinct until discovered growing wild in China in 1941.

These trees are amongst the few deciduous conifers; cone-makers that drop their leaves each fall. The larch (Larix), of which there are North American native species, behaves in the same way.

Looking at the foliage of our baby, it might be that this is the golden-leaf variety. We will watch its progress with interest.


  1. Hi Helen, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting – to answer your question, yes, Clematis macropetala is drought tolerant, these ones never get watered except by nature, and the soil is dry and sandy. However, the trick here is to put old concrete, large stones or whatever over the roots, and then if you by chance have any lime mortar put that on too. Works every time!
    This is such a great post about the Metasequoia – one of my favorite trees. I even took cuttings about 17 years ago which rooted and one of those went on to grow to over 40 ft. at last check.

  2. Hi everyone,
    We've a Dawn Redwood tree, at least 40 years old, in our backyard. Must be 120 tall. What I find neat is that the diameter is 10 feet.

  3. Oops!
    Refer my previous post – it should have said 10 feet in circumference and diameter.

  4. Hi, I just finished planting 1000 dawn redwood on our property 30 miles west of Port Huron Michigan. They're basically 12 inch twigs. How are the redwoods that you had planted doing? What size were they when planted and how tall are they now. Have any progress photos? Thanks Bill

    1. Wow, that's a whole lotta dawn redwoods! Unfortunately,our one baby (a liner, really) didn't make it during a very hot, dry summer. However, many spots around Toronto to have maturing dawn redwoods growing. They're quite a size (at least 40' tall, and going), so hope you didn't plant them too close together.

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