Coastal Redwood from Scratch

Hey guys, first-timer here! Been enjoying browsing both the video library and the forum!

I got on Mirai, because of their extensive resources on coastal redwoods, which otherwise doesn’t seem to be a much-discussed species in the community. I binged all videos regarding them and I’ve learned a ton! All plants worked on were very mature though and ready for styling. I suppose the best way to phrase my question is this: At what point in the trees development does all the pinching and pruning start?

My particular specimen is very young, the trunk is just starting to lignify. I’m practically growing it from scratch and I’m wondering, whether it’s hands-off for a few years or whether I should begin influencing the structure of the tree early on. The tree characteristically grows very long slinky branches, so much so, that all except for the highest ones are hanging down almost vertically and growing secondaries horizontally.

I’ll attach a few pictures for reference. I’ve already gathered, pot and soil aren’t ideal for this stage, I’ll put it in a growing pot with regular nursery soil in spring.

Thank you in advance!
Kindly, Ruben


Hey Ruben,

I’d say hands off for at least a few years.
Let it grow, fertilize it and that’s pretty much it.
You could slip pot it at any time in a larger container, just be carefully not to damage the roots and don’t over pot it, cuz’ that will end up slowing the growth rate.
I wouldn’t bother with regular potting soil, that usually brakes down within a year or two depending on the frost it gets and it could create problems along the way. I’d use regular bonsai mix with a bit more organic matter in it, like pine bark.

Good luck!


Hi Ruben, definitely leave to grow. I bought mine 7 years ago as 1 yr old saplings and they have been grown in basic potting compost and grit ever since. I haven’t ever experienced problems with using my mix. The compost will break down over time and the maximum time i ever go is three years but this is only for the slow growing trees.
As the coastal redwoods put out so much root each year they have to be repotted to give space for rapid growth. Each year I potted them into larger pots with minimal root pruning, just a good rake through to prevent circling and I took off about 1/4 of them. This year I’ve potted them in extra large plant pots and did the same to the roots for accelerated growth. The weather held them back earlier in the year but they’ve caught up and gone ahead now. Every other year I cut the leader and wire up a new one. This increases the trunk girth nicely without having a ten foot tree to deal with. They get fed every fortnight with liquid fertiliser which the tree can absorb quicker.
I did put one in the ground as an experiment and in two years it was 8 feet tall and had increased diameter from thumb size to 2 inches. Really great trees to play with.


Cheers, guys! Thanks for the input!

Those trees are incredible. When I first put mine outside, a bird promptly swooped in and bit off the growing tip and since it happened just as the buds were beginning to swell, I decided to leave it untouched (as opposed to wiring up a new leader) and within 3 months, it not only formed a completely new bud exactly at the “cut-site”, but even grew it by another 6 inches. You can hardly even tell it ever happened anymore.

And you guys did absolutely no cutting back the wild growth as they developed? I have a few branches, that are so long, they’re already touching the ground. Wondered, whether that might hurt them (rotting or similar).

Would this be a good time to wire the trunk and help it grow into an ideal formal upright style?

Thank you guys!

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Technically you could wire the trunk and let it grow but I’d hold off this year since your’s is so young to not hinder the growth at all.
I bought one about 5 years ago, pencil thick with a darn S in the trunk and I let it grow. Now it’s about 3 fingers thick at the base.
This year a basically cut 2/3 rd of the tree to start tapering and get rid of that S.
The plan is to let it grow a few more seasons freely, just cutting off the suckers.
Other then that I didn’t touch it at all.


Hi Kenez,

I have a young coastal redwood, about 3-4 years old, that I’m letting grow in a nursery pot and a bonsai soil mix from EB Stone for a couple more years. It’s done really well but has a bunch of suckers at the base and I wonder when’s the best time to remove them. When I first notice? During the fall or winter?

Audree in Washington State

Hey Audree,

I usually remove suckers as they appear regardless of species, thus eliminating the causing of wounds.
Larger ones I’d cut in late summer/autumn or spring to help the wound close before dormancy hits.


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Thanks, Kenez! I’ll remove them now as fall has definitely arrived in the Pacific NW. Saw new snow in the Olympic Mountains today.

All the best,

I’d put it in an Anderson flat on the ground and let the roots escape. Pick it up once a year to make sure that the roots don’t run too far into the ground.

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