Monday, October 2, 2023

How to Care for the Redwoods on Your Property—Tips and Tricks from a Local Aborist


The following is an article written by James Clarke, a local arborist who wants to share his knowledge about trees so Mendocino County residents can better serve the shade-bearing and oxygen-giving plants in their yard. For full disclosure, James does advertise with MendoFever.

[Stock image from Pixabay.com]

Many folks in Mendocino County have and love redwood trees just as I do. I am writing this to give everyone in our area a little bit of knowledge about these majestic trees hoping we can protect them the best that we can. 

The bark of the redwood tree is fire resistant, after a fire, even if a redwood is charred completely, the tree will sprout branches again and start a life cycle again. 

These are some of the largest trees in the world and can grow as 380’ tall and more possibly. 

To properly plant and take care of these trees is not an easy task and the first five years of establishment is the most important time for these trees. 

Watering and feeding your redwood trees during the summer is very important. You need to make sure you water your trees regularly for the first 5 years to help establish them. During the hot months of the year, you want to put bark mulch or straw over the root systems so you can protect the roots from overheating. 

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You want to keep an eye on the needles throughout the life of these trees yellowing in the tree can be from an iron deficiency, you can remedy this with iron sulfate or chelates. 

At younger ages, these trees will sometimes start to grow codominant tops. It’s a good practice to subordinate one of these codominant tops. The reason for this is because as the tree grows, these tops will get bigger and over time the bark between the two tops will be compressed tightly together. As this happens the wood will not grow together which traps the bark and becomes included bark. Rot and decay starts to compromise the tops in the tree and can cause catastrophic failure in the tree. Its good to have one of the tops subordinated as soon as possible so the tree doesn’t get compromised. 

Topping trees is extremely bad for the tree’s health. When you top a tree you cut a huge portion of the structure out of the tree. You have now opened the tree up to rot and decay directly to the center of the tree. 

Proper pruning of the tree and deadwooding the tree should keep these trees healthy. Redwoods do extremely well growing together in a group rather than alone. The root systems work together for stabilizing the trees and for example when growing in a forest the branches and trees work together to protect each other from storms and high winds. 

These trees also rely on moss and high moisture content in the air when they are very tall because they have a hard time naturally taking water to the top of the trees.

There are good places to plant a redwood and extremely bad places to plant a redwood tree. The best place to plant a redwood is in a group away from all structures just in case something were to happen. If a redwood is planted near a house the root systems can compromise the foundation of your house. They can also compromise water and electric lines that are under the ground. And if that happens these trees become expensive to remove because of the liabilities and the risk associated with the process.

My name is James Clarke and I am passionate about trees. I am a arborist and can help with any tree trimming or tree removal need. Call me (707) 621-0757 or email me at james.clarke1881@gmail.com and we can talk about how to best support the trees in your life.

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  1. Yes, very good information. I’ve seen some very bad results when redwoods are planted close to buildings or construction takes place too close to established trees.

  2. Grey squirrels can be an issue for ringing the top bark of the redwood tree. .In turn they will kill the top of your tree and it will often come down in a wind storm. Also inoculating the roots when transplant can be very beneficial. I use forest duff from existing redwoods to make a extract. Off the top of my head we have 7 billion chromosomes in our pair of DNA and if I recall correctly the redwood has close to 28 billion and 3 pairs of strands. I find this very impressive.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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