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The giant sequoia is an evergreen conifer, with a typical reddish brownish soft thick bark. The tree has a large, relatively thin, conical crown. The upper branches are upright, while the lower ones are hanging down with upright tips. Younger trees (up to 10 m tall) do not have these "hanging" branches and have an almost perfect conical crown. The top of older trees gets more and more rounded over time. The drawing on the right shows a typical 120 to 150 years old planted specimen.
The trunk has a wide base, and gets thinner after a couple of meters. The strikingly soft, fibrous bark can be punched easily with the fist, which explains its nickname in a number of European countries: the boxing tree. The quality of the wood is rather low (especially in older specimens) so the species is of no importance in forestry. The needles are small and are more scale like. They cover the branches completely. The needles never drop by themselves, always a number of branches fall down together after they die as a result of, for example, drought or shading.
Also the egg shaped cones are not that big (4 to 5 x 3 to 4 cm, roughly 2 by 3 inches), but can contain hundreds of small, light seeds of 3 to 4 mm length.
Pretty Wild Seeds are registered with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under number 7529, so you can have confidence in both our products and advice. Although our products are listed in weights and acres, we can supply in additional quantities upon enquiry so if you need a larger supply, please don't hesitate to give us a call.
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The Sequoiadendron Giganteum 'Giant Redwood' Seeds is shown in Bush, Tree & Shrubs.
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Sowing; Before sowing, it might be useful to place the seeds a couple of days to a couple of weeks in the fridge. When you sow them at last and place them in a warm place (like on the radiator of your heating system), the seeds "think" winter's over and the time to germinate has come.
I have tried the seeds at different depths and had the most success when I did not put them in the (ordinary) compost, but on the soil, not to only very slighty covered. Probably they also need light to germinate. But be aware! The seeds need to be in (intense) contact with the moist soil, so you need to press them softly into the compost. The seeds are quite susceptible to drought. You can put a glass plate or some plastic foil over the pot, but you have to be careful not to kill them by making things too wet. Small germinated sequoias die rather easy because of overwatering. I can tell you: it's a very sad thing to see baby sequoias wither away!
To keep the ground moist but not wet, it's ideal to use a garden sprayer instead of a watering can. You can sow them all year round, but because the plants in temperate regions like Europe will grow best in summer, it might be best to do the sowing in (early) spring.
How long does it take the seeds to germinate?
Well, first of all it should be said that giant sequoia seeds have a very low chance of germinating. If a few from some twenty to fifty seeds germinate, you're already successful... With bought seeds, the germination rate is higher but it's highly probable that more than half of the seeds will do nothing. Normal germination rates of 15 to 25% are to be expected
The seeds germinate at the earliest a couple of days after sowing, but still can after months. Don't think things will not work out: patience is a virtue!
When a seed germinates, the first thing you see is a tiny, rhubarb colored stem, loop shaped. After a couple of days the plant erects itself and the dried seed skin falls of (if it does not look like it's going to do that by itself, you could help a little bit). You see four seed leaves, although there can be three or five.