The Q&A Archives: should I remove 7 young redwoods from my corner lot & if so when?

Question: The original owner of our housing development property landscaped it with 7 redwoods clustering about 6 ft apart. (corner lot, bounded on two sides by paved streets.) The tallest redwood is now about 15 feet tall, the smallest, about 6 ft. They look lovely & the shade is very nice, but will the trees cause too many problems as they continue to grow and the roots spread? Should we take them out now selectively or all at once while they are still a reasonable size? Why do people plant redwoods in close-quarter properties?

Answer: It sounds as though the previous owner was planting a forest. Redwoods have the potential to reach magnificent heights. But, Redwood trees have shallow, aggressive root systems that can raise havoc with house foundations, sidewalks or lawns. Almost anytime anything tries to compete with redwood tree roots, the roots will win. As majestic as these trees might look in a forest, a standard residential lot simply isn't large enough for seven redwoods. I'd remove them all and replant with similar evergreens that don't have the potential for outgrowing their space. A good alternative to your redwoods might be Leyland Cypress (Cupressusocyparis leylandii). It's evergreen, has a rapid growth habit, is narrow to pyramidal, and grows 20' high; 6?8' wide. I think it would be a better fit for your property.

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