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Giant SequoiaSequoiadendron giganteum

  • Giant Sequoia - Sequoiadendron giganteum

Giant sequoias are well-named, being arguably the largest trees in the world. These forest giants are an awe-inspiring sight . . . but one reserve for national parks in California, right? Well, while they can be found in the protected parks of the sunshine state (where the giant sequoia serves as one of the state trees), these trees also function in a variety of landscapes. The giant sequoia can serve as not only a novelty specimen but also a practical and serviceable tree when space allows.

Hardiness Zones

The giant sequoia can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 6–8. View Map

Tree Type

This is an evergreen tree, keeping its foliage year-round.

Mature Size

The giant sequoia grows to a height of 60–200' and a spread of 25–35' at maturity.

Growth Speed Medium Growth Rate

This tree grows at a medium rate, with height increases of 13–24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun is the ideal condition for this tree, meaning it should get at least 6 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The giant sequoia grows in acidic, loamy, moist, sandy, well-drained and clay soils. It prefers moist conditions, with no flooding and only slight drought tolerance.


This tree:
  • Is a very long-lived tree.
  • Thrives in larger spaces.
  • Makes an excellent specimen tree and buffer strip. When planted 20' apart, they also serve as excellent windbreaks.
  • Features bluish-green needles, spirally arranged on the terminal leader and approximately ¼" in length.
  • Produces reddish-brown cones that are somewhat egg- or barrel-shaped and 2–3½" long with pitted scales.
  • Should be watered during dry periods for better growth and health.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape when young, shifting to a more columnar shape with age.

Wildlife Value

Giant sequoias are primarily used for shelter. Mature cones are collected and stored by Douglas squirrels (chickarees), and the sequoia seedlings are eaten by chipmunks, sparrows and finches.


The name sequoia came from the Cherokee Chief Sequoyah, who was also famed for framing the alphabet of his Native American tongue. Early loggers are said to have destroyed hundreds of ancient sequoias in search of wood for roof shingles, flumes, fence posts and poles. But sequoia wood lacks strength and breaks easily across the grain. When they would fell these massive trees, large portions of the trunk would shatter into thousands of short, jagged and worthless shards. Other portions of the tree were left behind because they were simply too large to haul out of the forest.