Dawn Redwood Problem

Hello - I collected this little beauty and placed it in a pot about a month ago. I also collected a smaller one and potted it. That one is doing fine. This one however, was fine at first, but the new growth started to wilt at the tips. The last couple weeks here in Orange County, CA have been pretty hot. Now the tips are turning brown. I have been watering it every day and the soil is moist every day. I understand redwoods don’t like very hot weather. I’ve been misting them in the morning and recently misting during the day too. It’s in partial shade so it doesn’t get blasted by the sun either.
The soil is acidic potting soil and mixed it with pebbles so it can drain better.
Can someone please advise? I am obsessed with redwoods and would hate to lose this one as it’s my favorite…


Some sort of shock.

Orange County (USDA Zone 9b-10b) is a little out of the dawn redwood’s comfort zone (USDA Zones 5-8). Where did you collect this?

The new growth has yet to lignify, and the roots have taken some time out. Is the wilting growth new since you collected the tree? Or was it there before you dug the tree?

I have too many questions.

Why did you collect so late in the year? I’m more familiar with bald cypress, but the needles are similiar enough. I don’t like to touch a bald cypress’s roots until the new twig growth has hardened off. If the trees are about to be ripped out by landscapers or earth-movers, then it doesn’t matter, I would pull the trees. But if given the choice, I’d have left this one alone.

For now, keep the tree out of mid-day sun. If you haven’t treated the roots with any type of rooting hormone, I recommend MiracleGro Quick Start. It’s a transplanting fertilizer/treatment. An alternative is to dust the top of the soil with rooting hormone powder and water it in. Get some organic fertilizer or low yield inorganic fertilizer (at half strength).

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Thank you for your response. The new growth was there when I collected the tree. I was up north on a trip and collected it when I saw it. Now, I realize it probably wasn’t the right time! :frowning: It was one of those things that I saw and I had to have. But I learned my lesson.
I have such a deep love and passion for bonsai but I just keep running into problems. Everything I’ve learned in the past 5 yrs have been off the internet and trial and error. This is the first time that I got involved with redwoods. I was always scared to do have them in the past because it is my favorite tree. I just thought I would be able to duplicate its sensitive environment - Keep it in partial sun, mist it in the mornings and make sure it gets plenty of water. You might be able to see from the pic but that sort of shade is on it all day. Maybe for an hour it was get full sun…
Thank you for the rooting hormone tip. I will definitely try that. So never collect when the new growth hasn’t hardened right?

Had to have it when you saw it is one reason to collect. Even if it is the wrong time, you may still end up with success.

I try to use common sense (more than rationalization) when collecting a tree. If it’s the wrong time of year and I know there is a small chance of survival, the tree should either be one of many trees of similar size and shape, or the area is one where service crews will come through and kill trees. Digging at the wrong time of year should have a minimal impact on the environment.

I keep thinking about your collection. Dawn redwoods are native to China. Where did you collect this and are you sure it’s a metasequoia glyptostroboides?

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Obviously I didn’t know about the time that it should be dug up. Like I said, I did learn my lesson… :confused:
I got it from these mountains next to Fresno, CA. It’s where sierras begin, as you go more up north.
I’m thinking it’s dawn redwood because of the needle formation and what I’ve seen online. I can’t say I’m 100%. I have to take close up pics and post it. I’ll do that today. Thanks again.

That’s not a redwood, likely Douglas Fir.


wow, now I feel like an idiot! :expressionless:
Thanks for the clarification Garrett240

Should I still try the rooting hormone or the MiracleGro Quick Start that @BillsBayou suggested?
So now the issue may be is that I’m watering it too much, right? Douglas Fir doesn’t like too much water, no? I still have it in the shade though…

@Garrett240 is on the money - this is definitely not a Dawn Redwood. I’d agree about his guess of this being a Douglas Fir.

To explain the differences - Dawn Redwoods have a stringy, reddish-brown bark. The species pictured here is smooth and gray. Redwoods have opposite, bipinnately arranged leaves. Redwoods have opposite branches, the leaves form on a single plane much like a fern. The species pictured here has waxy, radial needles that form on all surfaces of the branch.

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t a Douglas Fir have cylindrical shaped needles…around the branch? Like the christmas trees?

Might be a white fir (abies concolor)

Definitely not a Redwood, it is either a Grand Fir Abies grandis, or White Fir abies concolor as others have noted.
Most likely shock from and overwatering.
Collected trees usually don’t make it when they are “loved to death”
Just keep it in the shade and let it grow.
Have you watched the Randy Knight Stream, full of info on aftercare for collected trees. :metal:t2::evergreen_tree::grinning:


Thanks everyone for the tips. Here are a few other pics of close ups of the needles…maybe this would help for someone to tell me what kind of tree this is.

First pic, Doug Fir from south Yosemite area
Second Cali Redwood from Mendocino
Third Dawn redwood from seed China

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Looks like I have a Douglas Fir then…haha. Thank you.

It’s definitely a White Fir abies concolo

So, now that that’s solved, we can get back to the issue, which is probably a balance of water and oxygen. I would think that since it was recently collected, it’s probable that there are too few roots. Watering this will be tough. You will want to make sure that you aren’t overwatering and keeping the rootball too moist (which will inhibit root growth). But, since you are in Southern California, you’ll also want to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.

Other than that, I think everything else sounds good. Misting foliage, partial shade, etc. Good luck

Tree is not doing well as you can see.
Might be dead, haven’t checked the bark.
I was told diff things to try and save it. I bought pumice to transfer it to just that in another pot and I was told by the guy at the nursery, who happens to do bonsai himself that I should leave it alone cause I might rip off any new roots that may have grown…
Have kept it in the shade and been misting it a coupe times a day.

@Erphun doesn’t look like the tree is doing well, I don’t think it is going to recover, especially this time of the year. This was a good conversation though - I was able to learn a few things. I think a lot of this hobby is about killing trees and learning from those experiences. Such is the life of the yamadori collector!

If it is gonna die, you can try pulling it from the pot and place on the ground with a piece of garden cloth underneath, then heal in the root ball with coarse wood chips. Keep moist not wet, this is randy knight technique. Looks like it may still have a enough foliage to salvage.