The Q&A Archives: Dawn Redwood Care

Question: I live in E. PA and last spring planted a dawn redwood about five feet tall. Despite the nasty drought I kept it well watered and it took off. What I was wondering is what do I do to fertilize it next spring? I have searched but have found no answers on the care of a redwood. Maybe they don't need any help? I almost put an evergreen food spike in the ground beside it, but since it is a "deciduous evergreen" I didn't, for fear of it being the wrong thing.

Answer: According to Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants", these trees do best in a deep and moist yet well-drained, acid soil in an area with high humidity. They grow slowly outside their native area where the foggy conditions are ideal for them so I wouldn't expect it to grow very fast at all no matter what you fertilize with. The best way to know what to use would be to run some basic soil tests and first off make sure the pH is in the right range. That is the most important thing assuming your soil is at least of average fertility. Then, use a balanced approach to fertilizing using only what is needed based on the results of the tests. Always read the label instructions and do not overfertilize -- you are right in that too much is not better. Your County Extension (345-3283) can help you with the tests and interpreting the results.

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