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Coast RedwoodSequoia sempervirens

  • Northern Red Oak - Quercus rubra
  • Coast Redwood
  • Coast Redwood

The coast redwood has the honor of being the world's tallest tree, as well as the source of most harvested redwood lumber. Often growing in height to 300 feet or more, this evergreen is an impressive sight with its lustrous, dark green or bluish-green leaves; seemingly endless trunk; and reddish bark. It grows naturally in the fog belt along the Pacific Ocean from southern Oregon to northern California, though it has been cultivated in other locations, including the East Coast, where it grows to a much smaller height.

The coast redwood is the only conifer that sends up vertical sprouts from roots growing near the surface of the soil, leading to the circular pattern of regeneration for which this noble tree is known.

Hardiness Zones

The coast redwood can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 7–9. View Map

Tree Type

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

Mature Size

The coast redwood grows to a height of 40–300' and a spread of 25–100' at maturity.

Growth Speed Fast Growth Rate

This tree grows at a fast rate, with height increases of more than 24" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this tree, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The coast redwood grows in slightly alkaline to acidic soils of various textures.


This tree:
  • Features flat, stiff, needle-like dark green leaves with sharp points that are about ½" long.
  • Produces egg-shaped brown cones about 1" in length.
  • Develops beautiful bark that turns reddish with age.
  • Tolerates flooding.
  • Grows in a pyramidal shape.
  • Can be used for reforestation. Outside of California and the Northwest, it serves as an occasional novelty specimen.
  • Should be planted 15–20' apart for a screen.
  • Needs ample soil space.

Wildlife Value

The bark of this redwood is used by flying squirrels for nest material; cavities in the trees themselves are used by Pacific fishers and northern spotted owls for nesting sites. The northern spotted owl, on the list of federally threatened species since 1990, requires very mature and old growth forests for nesting, roosting and foraging for its preferred prey, northern flying squirrels. Coastal redwood forests provide critical habitat for this threatened species. Redwood forests also provide food and habitat for other birds including peregrine falcon, bald eagle, marbled murrelet, Vaux's swift, egret, great blue heron, Steller's jay, thrush, brown creeper, winter wren and Pacific-slope flycatcher as well as large and small mammals.


The genus "Sequoia" is named after Sequoiah, the son of a British merchant and a Cherokee woman. He became a Cherokee chief and established an alphabet for the Cherokee language. Sempervirens comes from Latin and means "always alive." It is one of the state trees of California.