“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” -Greek Proverb

Mission Statement:  My mission is to re-establish groves of Giant Sequoia trees sporadically across the eastern half of the United States.  Giant Sequoia trees once grew abundantly across the North American continent  in the days of the dinosaurs  until epoch changing asteroid impacts and glaciation blasted and carved them away.  Due to careless logging practices, only 5 % of  these magnificent trees remain in isolated groves in Western Range of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.  I have chosen the sequoia  gigantism (giant sequoia) species instead of the sequoia sempervirens (coastal redwood), as the latter has much more stringent temperature and moisture requirements.  Currently eighty foot tall solitary specimens of giant sequoias are  thriving at the National Arboretum and at the east end of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. as well as scores of locations in the eastern U.S.    Over the past year, I have  successfully grown two foot tall Sequoia saplings from six inch seedlings.  Over two Saturdays in November and December 2017, members of my Sequoia nonprofit planted  twenty-two, two year old, two foot tall sequoia seedlings on two acres of farm land in southern Virginia.  They are green and growing well too.  See sidebar photos.


How to plant 1-2 year old seedlings
Entry date 2/5/17
I received  my 18 inch tall giant sequoia tree seedlings shipment in the mail from Jonsteen Trees in McKinley ,Ca. January 30,2017.  They arrived in a bulk shipment bag of 25 trees:  plump, beer can sized root plugs  in rich California soil.  I mixed 65% potting soil and 35% compacted peat moss and 5% vermiculite and planted each tree in 5 Gallon Grow Bag /Aeration Fabric Pots w/Handles.  I gave them a good drink  of water and set them up under two four foot long  workbench, cool white, fluorescent light fixtures on my enclosed porch back porch, not climate controlled.  My literature review revealed  special grow lights are not needed, the wavelengths from these utility fluorescent fixtures work just fine.

Feb 2017 Today watered trees with 1-2 liters water each to achieve wet weight of 15 lbs from dry weight of 10 lbs. I set a reminder on my smartphone  to water them every two weeks .   From my readings on growing sequoia seedlings the biggest mistake you can make is too much watering.  You must simulate what it  is like out in the wild- periods of drought  punctuated by deluge.     You must resist the frequent light sprinkling of the tress while watering other flowers in the yard or garden.   Let the soil go completely dry between good drinks of water for your sequoia saplings.
Rather than build or buy a greenhouse I have opted to keep my trees on an enclosed back porch which is highly shaded  from summer heat and allows filtered light in the winter. The vinyl windows can readily opened or closed to allow cross ventilation and the enclosure protects the trees from high winds.  I simply move the trees outside for watering every two weeks.

March 4,2017: this was the next watering since 2/7/17 It thunder stormed and rained about 1″ which gave my trees a nice drink of water. I will let them ride for a while again,being careful not to water-log them. They are better off on the dry side.

MAY 14, 2017  The fast growing two foot tall lanky giant sequoia seedlings required some staking.  They were fertilized with 1.5 TBSP of Osmolite slow-release fertilizer per five gallon pot.

Nov 11 and Dec.2,2017:Planting of the twenty-two, two year old, two foot tall sequoia seedlings took place over two Saturdays in Nov and Dec 2017 in two acres of farm land in southern Virginia.  The first session was grueling 10 hours solo planting by yours truly with pick ax.  The second session I  got smarter and got help of the landowner and two tree hugger friends.   We used a two man auger to dig  through the semi-loamy red clay soil like a knife through room temperature butter.  The five gallon baby Sequoia trees were then delivered  with loving care into  beautiful 2 foot deep holes and given a good drink of water.  The trees now have a new adopted home 2500 miles from their birthplace at the Jonsteen Tree Company in McKinleyville,California.

December 23, 2017: Germinating giant sequoia seeds. See side bar photo

I planted giant sequoia seeds in an off the shelf seed germination mix containing vermiculite from three different suppliers:

#1 http://www.MySeeds.Co

#2 is from Nigel Dodds United Kingdom who procured them from Whitaker Forest owned by UC Berkeley in Red mountain area adjacent to Kings Canyon.

#3 http://www.chilternseeds.co.uk

I sewed five seeds each  at 1/8″ deep per germination cup. All seeds had been stored in the refrigerator for one year prior to planting. Seeds from suppliers #1 and 3# were pre-soaked 24 hours prior to planting.  After a good watering, the seed cups  were placed on top of  an electric germination warming pad for the winter. I will water periodically just as the soil dries out being careful not to over water. Sequoia seeds are notoriously difficult to germinate. In the best of conditions 25% germination rate is the most that can be expected and more often much lower rates are the usual. Germination may not take place for many months. We will see what happens.

Future installments:

  • Why plant Sequoia Redwoods:    Excerpt from travels w Charley,by John Steinbeck“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.”
  • Setting up non profit 501 3C foundation, selecting board of directors, and endowments sequoia grove conservancies in perpetuity and conservation easements.
  • Marketing  strategies for sustainable development of giant sequoia groves in your community:
  • Kids planting trees for example the Eden Project
  • Arboreal cemetery:   trees are leased out as living gravestones for urns buried under them. (page 92 from Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohlleben)