Question of opinion on non-native Dawn Redwood

acer(6b western NC)June 12, 2005

I try to stick with natives like most everyone else on this forum, but I really like the Dawn Redwood from China (Metasequoia glyptostroboides). Other than the fact that they're non-native, does anyone have a good reason NOT to plant one? (Aggressive, over-used, etc...)

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ahughes798(z5 IL)

I've heard they're aggressive seeders or spreaders..I can't remember which. April

    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 3:37PM
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Great tree - plant it.
If you wont be able sleep at night knowing you planted an Asian species, then use Taxodium distichum or T. ascendens.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2005 at 5:22PM
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I don't know wheter dawn redwood will cause any problems, but I agree that you will get a very similar look with the native Taxodium cypresses.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 10:13AM
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apcohrs(z5 IL)

I cant find it on an invasive plants list. USDA Plants database does not show any wild populations.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 4:48PM
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Never heard of it being aggressive on the east coast. And technically, it was native here at one time.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 7:56AM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

Yeh. I also have never heard of it being a problem, and i really doubt that i has the capcity to agresivly seed because on all the tree i have seen produce few seeds per plant even when planted in groves. Also, the fact that it hasnt spread from its limited are where its found into surrounding land that has a very similar climate to the east cost must say something. Granted, there must be other limiting factors at work, but i cant even find any information that even remotely suggests its even naturalized anywhere.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 12:10AM
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Greenthumb(Zone 5a, MN)

Sorry, but April doesn't have her information correct; Dawn Redwood is not an invasive seeder or spreader. In fact, while the seed is quite easy to germinate, very few seedlings have been found growing around any mature Dawn Redwood(s).

Dawn Redwood is a beautiful tree and is probably easier to find at nurseries and garden centers than Baldcypress, but other than the fact that it's not native, it is VERY worthy of planting. Dawn Redwood also grows a little faster than baldcypress.

If you are trying to plant only natives, then Baldcypress is the tree to plant.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 1:20PM
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Metasequoia is indeed found in the fossil record for North America. Seed was "re-introduced" in 1948. It has never shown any invasive tendencies. It is very unusual for such a fast growing tree to also be a high quality tree. Whether or not it can grow in standing water like Bald Cypress I can't say.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2005 at 7:23PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Yep, I have fossil "Metasequoia glyptostroboides" (what we called it when we were digging it - it probably has been assigned a new name by now and been described, but I'm not sure) from the late Cretaceous flora of Big Cedar Ridge in Wyoming. It was very common in some environments 50+ million years ago - I can't remember when it disappeared from North America. Kind of cool to plant a "living fossil".

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 2:05PM
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Dawn redwood can grow it in water. The nursery I worked at has a row of 4 trees about 40 years old and from time to time seedling dawn redwoods would pop up in the b&b yew beds around the trees. I potted one up and kept it in my pond for like 4 years untill it got to big. They were native to N.A. at one time. I like the look of bald cypress a little better though.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 9:39PM
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ahughes798(z5 IL)

My information came from a big name nursery in this area, FYI. I was told it spread aggressively,which of course, apparently isn't true.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2005 at 10:17PM
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i just bought one and i heard they can grow in standing water and once they get old enough will have the same buttressed look as the bald cypress

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 2:33AM
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pacnwgrdngirl(z8 WA)

We planted one this Spring at the edge of our evergreen woods. We actually got it at our town's "Native" Nursery. They carrry these because they are really popular here, and they go so well with our natives. Can't wait to see the fall color against all of our evergreens.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 8:22PM
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I live in GA. And I planted a dawn redwood in my yard. It is the fastest growing tree I have ever seen. One year it grew 8 feet in 7 months. It was about 3 feet tall when I planted it. In 3 summers it grew over 15 feet. I flooded the base of the tree 2 to3 time's a week. The soil here is red clay. I also have a coast redwood. It's about 6 feet tall and very healthy.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 11:59AM
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I'd plant it-in fact, I already have- if I was in a suitable climate. It turns out I'm not, lol! The three we planted amidst our thousands of more reliable conifers up at our tree farm have already died or present in such a way that I wish they would die and get it over with. But for you, OP, not living in an extremely cold Z4 area, I'd say go for it.

Quick note to Sam MD: Fast growth=short life does indeed apply amongst broadleaved tree species. But when you make the jump into conifer land, that old cliche doesn't work. For examples, I offer you white pine, red pine, Norway spruce, coast redwood, dawn redwood, larch.....the list goes on.....all fast-growing and all capable of living lives measured in centuries. These plants I mention here also have the ability to maintain apical dominance long into their lives, thus the continued height increments over time. Just saying....I know you know what you're talking about, but I just wished to point this out-that in conifers, that relationship does not hold true.


    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:19AM
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