Coastal Redwood UK winter pruning - FYI for results

Hi - just thought I’d post this out of interest for UK (southern UK) and similar climates, and if it’s any interest / help to anyone!

Sooo, half good, half bad. This is a coastal I bought as a seedling about four years ago. I’m just growing it straight up to thicken as a formal upright and chop in the future. Now about five foot tall.

I spotted Ryan’s video on timing of trimming (i.e. shoot for late winter) with the aim of having it not “go nuts” and just resprout from the trunk. I had that happen in year two (ish) when I trimmed further out on the branch out of that deep winter season.

So thinking this one was in need of another trim back of the branches (they were getting unmanageably long, though I dithered about leaving them long to add to the trunk growth rate), I said “aha” and followed said library video, trimming back to fairly clear new bud points on each branch right at the start of this year (mid to late Jan time).

It didn’t really wake up! All I saw as everything else on the benches budded was the branches slowly die, zero push anywhere (i.e. every part of the tree went the dead brown still seen here). I thought I’d killed it dead. However it has only just now (last few days of May) started pushing. Interestingly, it’s gone “half half” - some push from the apparently dead branches themselves, and a lot from the trunk. The top was never cut, so that’s gone nuts. .

True (1) this is young tree; (2) we had a weird late winter and early spring here, with heavy snow and freezing for a couple of weeks in Feb / March. So it’s entirely possible one or both are the cause. Or (3) I’ve just totally misjudged the timing as between the UK and Oregon!

Anyhow I just thought I’d post the pics and result in case it’s of interest / use. It really did take a long count to get up off the deck here inthe (usually dryer) SE UK, but it’s back now and motoring. I was very surprised it took as long as it did however (and all other factors seemed ok… i.e. all over 2020 and into 2021 it was not repotted, was well fed, well watered, free draining mix, no sign of disease going into winter, relatively sheltered from wind, full daylight). Luckily I kept watering and light fertilising the apparently dead tree out of hope!

I suppose it’s just one of the factors above, but interesting how these “little friends” respond.

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Hi Mark. Interesting post. I live up North (Nr Scunthorpe) and I have four of them in development. I repotted them and on each pruned off the top and wired up a new leader. Having done this at previous repots I thought nothing of it. But not accounting for the funny weather we’ve had this year I left them to get on with what they do best…grow!
I was worried about them (for the first time ever!) and even put them in the greenhouse during frosty nights (though they survive all the snow we have every year). They are finally growing well now. I’ll post phots when I get a minute.
I finished repotting everything last week with the exception of the azaleas which I’ll have to wait for flowering to finish.
I don’t know about your area but we had the snow of Feb?March but then the frosts of April struck with a frost virtually every night, and some really low temps -5 down to -8 some nights.
I put as many trees in the greenhouse every night as I could but it isn’t very large. I’ve lost 13 deshojo cuttings and even some european larch! with virtually all the rest of my trees way behind on where they were last year.
HO HUM! The vagaries of being a bonsai enthusiast…

HI Keith, thanks for the info! And good idea with UK in the name. I’m originally from Liverpool so used to the wet :slight_smile: now down in the concrete jungle of South London, the temp (especially in summer) can be really different - no wind, just lots of pavement and road baking everything!

We didn’t get a prolonged period of frost, more of the solid “dump” of snow that stayed on the ground for a couple of weeks, which is highly odd these parts. I think that’s what shot everything’s timer off this Spring, plus the buckets of rain. As you say, they are mad growers, which is partially why I ended up shortening most of the branches.

So yes, ho hum let’s see if next year is a bit more “stable”! Something tells me this one will be back though.

All the best and sorry it took a while, to reply, I’ve been working a lot so haven’t checked in on the forum for a while.


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Hey there, strange question… I have a friend that lives in the UK, near Manchester, and he is dying to get his hands on a coast redwood. Would you be able to share anywhere you think he might try his luck in getting one? He lived over here in the pacific northwest for a number of years, but is now back in the UK. The redwoods remind him of his time here and I’d love to help him find one.

Thanks for any help!

A bit late in the party but thank you for the interesting post.
It is quite strange what happened to this tree but glad that it is ok now.
This is a redwood that I have been growing from a seedling for roughly 4 years now (2021 photos). I do most of the pruning May-June and late September after heavy flushes of growth and it seems to have worked well so far. The top was chopped off in the previous year with no issues / dieback.
I m in London so it is not that cold here during the winter, but it was covered in snow for a few days and the tree was unaffected. (never put it in the greenhouse)
The potting mix is very similar to Mark’s (kaizen?) with a small addition of heavily organic soil from the garden.
They seems to love water and they root very easily even from hardwood cuttings.
It was bought on ebay for about £9 so Alex you can tell your friend to check there


Hi Alex, and Silva,

The one I was discussing in the “help it’s dead” pictures above I bought as a very small (circa 9 inch) seedling, but I think the site I used has gone now. As Silva says, they might just find one on eBay. However if you have a Google around from the UK for “coastal redwood” and “giant redwood”, there are also some “redwood and sequoia” specific sites out there, such as:

This guy seems to sell (very well) developed saplings, though he’s out of coastal right now. Might be worth an email or call though - Redwood World - Redwood Trees for Sale

If he’s prepared to plant from seed, I’ve bought seed from this site before and they’ve been good - Coast Redwood (sequoia sempervirens). In fact I’ve now got one giant redwood from seed from them going right now, about 5 years old and growing at a massive pace.

Hope he can get hold of something, whether that be through eBay, sites like the above, etc, though I’m sorry I can’t be of more help! Either giant, dawn or coastal redwoods are fascinating to me, if for nothing else than the idea that if left to their own devices, they’re going to outlive and outsize just about everything I can see from my back garden today. I keep having a secret though I might plant one out, but it’d probably rip everyone’s fences up in 15 years, so maybe not :grinning:

Silva, thanks for the tips on pruning. I may give that a go (i.e. wait until just after heavy flush), but I tried that a few years back and just got re-growth from the trunk. Hey ho. They are indeed hardy as nails though. As above, I was sure mine had died due to overpruning and hard winter, until it “resurrected” itself from a brown mess in May. I think probably the battleplan from now on may be to simply leave it in a massive pot for a few years and let it go crazy to thicken. Then cut back to the basic trunk.

I got mine from Cheviot Trees as 1 yr seedlings.