Foliage: About one-half inch flat needle-like leaves; deciduous
Height: About 75 feet
Spread: About 20 feet
Shape: Distinctly conical
Dawn redwood is a fast-growing large deciduous conifer with a distinctly conical form. This species is quite majestic; its feather-like foliage confers a fine texture. Fall foliage color is variable but a pleasant brown-orange color is typical. Dawn redwood tolerates moist soil. This species’ noble stature is derived from its size, form, and foliage; these qualities makes it useful as a specimen plant, and used in groupings, and on both sides of a path or drive to create an allée. Old specimens have trunk bases that are widely and sinuously flared giving the trunk a most interesting appearance.
Zone: 5 to 8
Light: Full sun
Moisture: Moist to average; somewhat drought tolerant
Soil type: Most soils
pH range: Acid; some reports indicate tolerance to alkaline soils
This species’ noble stature derived from its size, form, and foliage makes it a useful as a specimen plant, and used in groupings, and on both sides of a path or drive to create an allée.
No special care is required providing that trees are plant in an area that will accommodate the large size.
There are a few cultivars of dawn redwood but the most prevalent clone in the trade is ‘Gold Rush’ (same as ‘Ogon’) which has striking bright yellow foliage. Prior to the mid 1940s, this species was only known to the scientific community by fossils. Later in that decade it was found growing in central China and was identified as dawn redwood.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
November 3, 2010