Planting Sequoiadendron

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by jral, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. jral

    jral Member

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    Re: Sequoia growing zone?

    I'm hoping to plant two 20" -er sequoiadendron giganteum here in Nova Scotia (6a) next week, but it's getting a little late in the season. Sohould I go ahead and plant right away? Also, an an amateur, I would certainly appreciate any advice anyone can give me.

    -should I add bonemeal to the mix, &/or use a transplanter fertilizer?

    -I know the guys need plenty of water, so given that our soil tends to freeze in late Nov., is 3 months enough to get the tender roots growing?

    -Our soil here isn't ideal, but can I amend a certain way to give a good start?

    -I'm planning some winter protection on them, can anyone tell me which type is best (burlap, plastic pyramid etc.)?!?

    Any other tips?

    Thanks in advance.
     

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  2. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    Re: Sequoia growing zone?

    Don't plant til late Oct. or even later if the ground's diggable, now is not the time, but of course leave them outside to acclimate. I wonder if your ground isn't too rocky for those trees - they're used to deep, humus-y, organic stuff, while ours (I'm north of the airport, prev. S. shore) is full of shale and grit (good for conifers, but these guys are different) and it does get pretty cold here. You'll have to mulch like crazy, make sure that whenever it thaws enough to begin drying out at all you water well, and be careful about being too close to salt (air/water) as they won't appreciate it.
     
  3. jaro_in_montreal

    jaro_in_montreal Active Member

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    Re: Sequoia growing zone?

    I'd like to know a bit more about this suggestion to plant very late in the fall, rather than right away.
    It seems to me that the plants are more vulnerable in a pot than in the ground - so why delay ?
    Or is the assumption that your potted plant is kept in some more sheltered place, compared to its final planting spot ? ....and if it isn't, then I ask again: why delay ?
    A closely related question would be: if I get some small conifer cultivars by mail order, with much of the soil removed and roots placed in a plastic bag, should I bother with the intermediate step of planting them in a pot first, and then later into the gound ? (why ?)
    Thnx.
     
  4. jral

    jral Member

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    Re: Sequoia growing zone?

    Looks like I'll have to do some serious soil amending for the 2 spots I have to plant them in...both very clayey, with really poor drainage (& a high water table) Giant sequoia need good drainage, right?
    So that said, can anybody suggest what the best way to improve a clay/humus-thick wetish soil? Lime maybe? What else tends to do the trick?
    Can I create a raised mound above the ground level and plant the trees in that?

    Also, as far as planting itself, is bomemeal a good idea, or a transplanter fertilizer (or both)?!? Anything else?

    I'm planning some good winter protection too, possibly a clear plastic teepee or similar (???)

    I'm a newbie too all of this, but I really want them to survive here in 6a.

    ANY further suggestions are welcome.

    Thx.
     
  5. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    Re: Sequoia growing zone?

    Transplanting trees in mid-late summer is the worst possible time of year as their growth spurts are over with, they're taking a needed rest before preparing (in various plant-like ways) for fall, then dormancy, and asking them to suddenly adapt to a new environment, plus grow new roots to help anchor themselves, is just asking for trouble. In late fall they are dormant, and therefore neutral to working on (transplanting, pruning, etc.), and spring is also the perfect time as they're very strong then and in a growing mode. Don't use plastic tepees, once the sun hits them everything inside can rot from condensation build-up, plus air circ. is important, as is snow for natural watering and insulation. What I would have done is think long and hard before having decided to plant anything in your site, as it sounds pretty sad for most trees, and soil amendments are only temporarily useful, but throwing in a lot of gravel and using a slightly raised bed might help.
     
  6. jaro_in_montreal

    jaro_in_montreal Active Member

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    Thanks very much for the reply Rima.
    I don't mean to continue contradicting you, but I would appreciate additional details:
    Your answer seems to imply that in late summer, plants grow roots only if they're planted in the ground, but not if they're left in a pot.
    But unless the plant is very root bound in its pot (i.e. in need of transplanting to a bigger pot), I would think that roots keep growing just the same as in the ground (why not ?).
    A plant shipped with its roots in a plastic bag (at least those that I've received so far) are definitely not root bound.
    As for adjusting to a changed environment, it seems to me that at least temperature changes are much greater for roots in a pot that's above ground (especially if its in the sun or wind), than in the ground -- the deeper, the less change.
    Chemically there may be a significant difference between the pot and the ground, but that's what doing a good job planting is all about, right ?
     
  7. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    All growth on all parts of a plant slows very much at this time of year for all the reasons I mentioned (sun & temps AND genetics being triggers), wherever they're planted, though tropicals indoors may not be as obvious about it. It's what plants do, they have growing seasons, resting seasons, dormancy, etc. and that's that. I don't remember saying anything about a pot though, but yes, temp changes are less 'extreme' underground. And what does being shipped in plastic have to do with being rootbound? It's one thing to be a good container (or even bonsai) 'gardener', but you still cannot duplicate outdoor/inground conditions completely, so don't expect to be able to do so. Plants in pots tolerate us, but it's an unnatural situation for them, and we can only 'get lucky' if we're smart, not perform miracles.
     
  8. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Planting potted trees isn't the same as planting bareroot. Bareroot trees would be fall and spring only.

    I'd plant the Giant sequioas right away. During late summer plant growth slows and eventually stops but below grade the root system is still developing. And giant sequioas have very agressive root systems. Better to get to give the roots a chance to start spreading out for the up comming cold or wait till spring. Even worse than planting them now would be leaving them in pots to freeze over the winter.

    Soil drainage? Giant sequioas do require drainage but they can also suck the ground around them dry on a warm day. They should be fine as you described; infact, once established grow like crazy. BTW, in their native groves, the ancient ones are fed by underground springs.

    If your Sequioas are still in pots, water everyday...
     
  9. jral

    jral Member

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    I think I've found a good solution for soil amendment; creating a slight mount above grade with a combination of gravel, my existing soil, humus: existing leaf/needle matter, pelleted lime, a complete commercially available organic soil amendment mix with gypsum, sandy loam, and other good things - kelp etc.

    Does that sound good?
     
  10. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    That oughtta do....and yes, might as well have it in the ground instead of in a pot, regardless of the time of year, provided you give it extra attention for the first while. FYI, I have heard that one must begin with a very deep (3-4') hole for sequoiadendron, if you want it to grow to it's full potential (relative to your site conditions).
     
  11. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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  12. jral

    jral Member

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    Does anyone know the perfect pH & soil quality for giant sequoia? I'm guessing slightly alkaline, sandy loam, given that they live in the high Southern Sierra. If so, a bit of pelletized lime, plus some sand in my planting mix should be good, right?

    (we have very acidic, clay-humus-y soil here)
     
  13. Rima

    Rima Active Member

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    I think you're fussing way too much - pH is only a factor in extreme conditions, or with very particular plants, and I doubt your sequoia will care a lot about that. I'm not sure though that actually adding lime is a good idea, many plants do not like it. Do you have a good reason for thinking your tree needs it?
     
  14. Chooch

    Chooch Active Member 10 Years

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    The sequoiadendron giganteum will never amount to anything in your area UNLESS you were fortunate enough to stumble across a super hardy seed source that has eluded me . This area where I live is much warmer than Nova Scotia but you may want to try it on your Salt Spring Island locale if you have the room .
    A few years ago during 3 different growing seasons , I germinated 300+ seedlings and placed them in strategic sheltered positions on our property . Every one of them eventually succumbed to the lengthy Canadian winter . As soon as temps fell below 10F coupled with drying winds that usually led to severe top growth damage .
    The roots on most of them would survive and resprout but that was no longer a desirable plant for me to maintain in my garden .
    I decided I would focus on the much hardier metasequoia for growth in our geographic area .
    There once was a fellow across the border in Michigan that claimed to have sequoiadendron giganteum growing but I personally never witnessed any visual proof and I am extremely sceptical that there is any truth to that rumour .
    Once the eyes have witnessed the sequoiadendron's performance in 10F to -10F temps it becomes very apparent the upper growth cannot handle it .
    Happy Growing !!
     
  15. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    Negative. Giant Sequioas will grow in all climate zones. Just 1-2 million years ago they were once prevalant in North America and Europe. And in it's current habitat at ~5000ft. altitude in the Sierras, winters there will rival those in SW Ontario. However, your talking about small <1 year seedlings uncovered and exposed to the drying air. In their native habitat, Sequioas are covered with snow for most of the winter and protected from drying winds. In your position, I would have covered the seedlings. And the top damage which you aluded to is from root damage(drying out). Generally, when there's root damage the tree growth will retreat down it's lower extremities and start over - leavinng the upper portion dead. A 3-5 year seedling should have faired much better.

    Rumors? There are Giant Sequioas growing in nearly all 50 States and all over Europe. Have heard of a few even growing in Poland.

     
  16. Chooch

    Chooch Active Member 10 Years

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    If a 3-4 foot second year seedling growing in a sheltered woodlot on fertile sandy loam soil would be classified as " small " then please tell me how large you would let this plant get before you quit protecting it ?? No matter what you state , I will never believe these trees can successfully experience that tyep of cold for any lengthy duration . Of course maybe if you would enlighten me and post some pictures of these Sequoiadendron growing in all 50 states then I may start to become a believer .
    I have been gardening and experimenting for over 45 years with way over a 1500 different type of plants in my collection , and I am slightly sceptical until I see proof with my own eyes.
     
  17. jaro_in_montreal

    jaro_in_montreal Active Member

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    Speaking of Giant Sequioas growing in Europe, I remeber seeing a few particularly large & impressive specimens growing in a parc in Vienna, Austria.... 36 years ago.
    The winters there could be quite severe sometimes, as I also recall, having lived through two of them.
     
  18. WadeT

    WadeT Active Member 10 Years

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    More likely root damage from drying out rather than the cold it's self. Watering during the winter can only help.

    Proof? Here's some.

    http://www.giant-sequoia.com/gall.php
     
  19. jaro_in_montreal

    jaro_in_montreal Active Member

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    Great link !
    I looked at some of the Giant Sequoia pictures for Europe -- lots from England and Romania, but unfortunately not the ones I remember so well from Vienna, Austria.
    Maybe some of our coniferphile friends overseas could provide one or two photos ?
    The trees must be a good 200 years old: True giants.
     
  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    There's no Sequoiadendron anywhere outside of the native range more than 153 years old, as the species was first introduced into cultivation in 1853. The UK champion (at Benmore, Scotland) is 54m tall, but this is in a zone 9 location.

    In terms of planting around the Great Lakes, the best success will be where you get maximum "Lake Effect" snow cover. I gather there's one about 30m tall at Manistee, MI, on the east shore of Lake Michigan. That has the full width of the lake between it and cold, dry NW winds that could otherwise damage the foliage. On the Canadian side of the border, the best options would be on the southeast shore of Lake Huron, somewhere like Kincardine or Goderich.
     
  21. jaro_in_montreal

    jaro_in_montreal Active Member

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    From the above link:
    <quote>
    Maderat, Romania close-up
    This is a close-up of the 160 year old tree planted by the Baron Dietrich Jozsef. <end quote>

    Vienna being more central to the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, it wouldn't surprize me if their Giant Sequoias were a few years older still...
     
  22. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi Jaro,

    They're wrong, plain and simple. No-one collected any seeds until 1853; that's very well documented.
     
  23. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Within my experience, plus living on a large lot for years, I've found no problem with planting now.

    In other words, if you thoroughly water the root ball, how could the tree be any worse off in your ground that sitting in a pot?

    You won't see much growth, but it you plant, mulch and water, it's one step ahead.

    I planted some that size and larger last year. I transplanted one of them last month with no problem (mulch and water).
     
  24. jaro_in_montreal

    jaro_in_montreal Active Member

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    That sounds perfectly reasonable -- except if you're pushing zone on some plant (a Sequoiadendron could be an example), in which case a spring planting is definitely advantageous.
    If you already received the plant, then one option is to let it overwinter in a garage or basement.
    If you have two and don't mind taking a risk, plant one outdoors and keep the other indoors, just in case....
     
  25. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    So how cold do your winters get?

    Liike 0 to 10 degrees?
     

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