Coast Redwoods in Cold Climates

As the title suggests - anyone here having long term success with coast redwood (sequoia sempervirens) in a cold climate region (like upstate NY), without a greenhouse? That’s the situation I’m in. I have 3 specimens, 2 collected and one a seedling that I’ve been growing for almost 10 years. The trees seem to be losing steam/weakening over time. In particular the seedling was very vigorous for the first 5-7 years, and I was able to develop a decent trunk by allowing the top to grow unimpeded to 12’ or so (in a container, of course).

However, the past several years it is much less vigorous and the root system isn’t very strong. There doesn’t appear to be an insect or disease issue (at least that I can identify).

My winter storage is an unheated mudroom that is bright but little sun, and maintains temps in the upper 30s to mid 40s range much of the winter. I really don’t have anything better available. Maybe I’m trying to do the impossible considering my conditions but am interested in hearing how others might be dealing with this type of problem.


Chris, I find that mine winter great at 55 degrees, if you can manage to get the temp up they should do fine. Perhaps build a plexiglass box with a light bulb on a thermostat?

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Guy, how much light do your trees get during the winter? And how long have you been growing them? Where are you located…near Toronto, if you’re the person I’ve seen on other forums?

I’ve always figured that since I don’t have a place that gets enough light, it would be best to keep them as cool as possible during the winter. I could try keeping one indoors under a grow light for a winter to see what happens. We keep our house pretty cool (it’s a drafty old thing, tough to keep warm without spending ridiculous amounts on gas) but it might still be a bit too warm. As much as I love redwoods (spent a fair bit of time in coastal California years ago, hiking in the redwood forests) it might just be best to move them to someone who can provide better conditions.


Hi Chris, my Redwoods get flooded with light, they are kept in an enclosed patio with windows all the way around. I am actually in the Detroit area in Windsor, ON, but keep my redwoods at my parents, since they have the facilities. I moved across the border 7-8 years ago, I moved much of my collection with me including 2 large coast redwoods. Unfortunately they never made it past the second winter because I had to winter them indoors and they just could not take the lack of dormancy, household temps is not an option for them. I’ve been working with redwoods for 10+ years and speak on my experience with then anytime someone has questions. I’ve always found it difficult finding resources on redwoods outside their range and have had to learn by trial and error, so I’ve been helping those who have questions as best as I can.

Hmm…maybe an option would be to keep them in the mudroom (cold and relatively low light) for the first half of the winter, then bring them in under grow lights for the second half. That might be a reasonable compromise. I just don’t have a spot that gets enough natural light (which is in short supply up here during the winter anyway) at a good temperature range.

Sorry to hear about the 2 you lost!

There is only one way to find out, how cold can you keep your mud room? I would suggest keeping it around 35-40 if you can’t provide much light, then start moving it out come spring when nighttime temps are above 40 consistently. The large ones I lost were not collected, they were about 4’ tall with a 2 inch trunk, so not huge losses, but sucked none the less. I’ve been able to take and grow cuttings from mine which allows me to experiment with different growing conditions. I have a couple Shimon collected trees, those get the 5 star treatment.

Coast Redwoods are like any other evergreen conifer, in that they need to light all year long. If you’re going to be keeping them indoors on days that fall below freezing I would recommend a grow light of some sort. However on warmer days I would still put them outside to get natural light. That lack of phnotosynthacist during the winter months could explain why they are struggling now.

I’ve had great success in zone 5b with coastal redwoods in an attached garage with a light set up over head. Temps get down to the upper 30s (Fahrenheit) at the lowest. So far so good! Have had mine over 4 years now with no slowing down.

Thanks - very glad I read this post. I acquired a coastal redwood in the fall and have only a dark although heated garage to manage it over the winter. I keep the temp at about 37-39. Today I added a simple clamp Light with a 6500k cfl bulb over the plant. Going to try 8 hours a day. I’m in NE Ohio so same zone.


What kind of light are you using?

@ChasingLight So I would be weary that isn’t fully covering the foliage with light. Be sure to rotate the tree. I have seen trees start to reach and that will disrupt the work you’ve done (although completely reversible, just time consuming).

@Chris I use this light it is a t5 with 4 4ft bulbs. It is great because it not only gets the entire canopy but also functions as a fantastic workshop light during the summer/fall. I also have coastal oaks and my azaleas under the same light (as well as some carnivorous plants).

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I’ve built a few variations of single tree and multiple tree ‘greenhouses’. They’re inexpensive and work great if you plan ahead and built them right. @Guy on a side note, my dad grew up in Windsor/Detroit. Well, Amherstburg but when you’re young it’s all the same. As a kid I visited Windsor with him every summer. He passed away a few months ago so it was nice reminiscing when I saw you posted about Windsor. Thanks for giving me that!

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