The Q&A Archives: Growing Giant Sequoia Trees

Question: I started some giant sequoia trees in August from seeds. Only a couple of them actually started growing. When should I start giant sequoia trees and what is required to get them large enough to plant outside?

Answer: Germination rates for giant sequoia seed ranges from 30 to 40 percent, so you were probably as successful as the nurserymen in getting your seeds to sprout! The rate of germination is somewhat higher if the seeds are given a 4-week chilling period prior to sowing.

If you have more seeds, mix them with moistened growing medium, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 30 days. Then remove, sow 1/8 inch deep in moistened seed starting mix and keep at 70F-75F degrees. Seeds should sprout in about 30 days. Once the seedlings appear, place under a source of bright light. You can use fluorescent tubes as a light source, placing them 3"-4" above the tops of the plants and keeping them on for 12-14 hours each day. When the seedlings are 6"-8" tall and spring weather has arrived, they can be placed outdoors in a protected place. As they grow they can be gradually moved to a full-sun position. In the late summer or early fall, transplant them into their permanent spots in the garden.

Giant sequoias are very slow growing trees, eventually reaching 325' with a 30' trunk diameter. Trees will produce cones at about 20 years of age.

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