Once known only from the fossil record, this conifer was "discovered" growing in China in 1941 by a Chinese forester. Only 1,500 trees remained of this plant, but seeds of it were sent around the world. Its success and adaptability are remarkable, for it is a beautiful tree. Dawn redwood requires ample space and is spectacular as a specimen or planted in groves. Its fern-like branchlets are delicate green in spring, its needles turn russet in autumn. Their fine texture creates a soft texture in the garden and contrasts well with the larger leaves of many broadleaf trees. Dawn redwood has an open branching structure with a dramatic, butressed trunk and reddish-brown bark. This adds up to a wonderfully sculptural winter tree, making dawn redwood truly a four-season tree.
Plant Type: pyramidal conifer
Foliage Type: deciduous
Plant Height: 30 ft. 0 in. (9.14 meters)
Plant Width/Spread: 20 ft. 0 in. (6.10 meters)
Plant Height-Mature: 100 ft. 0 in. (30.48 meters)
Plant Width-Mature: 30 ft. 0 in. (9.14 meters)
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8
Sun/Light Exposure: full sun
Water Requirements: Once established it is drought tolerant, and it will tolerate standing water
Seasonal Interest: autumn color
Colors & Combos
Great Color Contrasts: silver, white, variegated, burgundy
Great Color Partners: chartreuse, dark green, blue
- Culture Notes
- Dawn redwood is an extraordinarily adaptable tree. It will grow best in moist to well-drained soil, but will tolerate poor compacted soils, sand and clay. Once established it is drought tolerant, and it will tolerate standing water. Little pruning is needed to keep it stately form. As the tree ages, lower limbs can be removed to show off its interesting trunk.