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I Want to Plant Giant Sequoias in My Backyard!

Updated: Jun 20

Maybe not the best idea?




Lake Bluff farms in Manistee, MI home to a Giant Sequoia
Michigan's Giant Sequoia (media by JC)

I had a discussion with my wife the other day about the Giant Sequoia tree and why we don’t have more of them here in Michigan. Our conversation began to revolve around the root structure and how it might not be conducive to the area around where we live. The root system will branch out relatively shallow and lacks a taproot, so the stability is in the overall root system.



An illustration of a typical tree root system
Typical Tree Taproot and Root System (media by JC)

Here is an example of the root structure of a semi-mature Giant Sequoia tree.




A very large example of a Sequoia tree root system. The size of 2 or 3 cars.
Matted, wide-ranging Root Structure (media by JC)


The root system is relatively shallow at most 14 feet deep, but most being 8 to 10 feet. Where we might get into trouble is the acre of land the roots may encompass. You can imagine these would have to be planted quite a distance from your property.


Up until last year, I was unaware the mighty Sequoia tree was even existent in the state of Michigan. Around this time, I learned how adaptive and resilient this tree is. As written in eastlansinginfo.org:

The S. giganteum (the giant redwoods of the Sierra Nevada Mountains) can survive Michigan winters. There is a small giant redwood tree at Beal and, in Manistee, there is also the Michigan Champion tree, a 27-meter tree planted in 1948 as a seedling at the Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary. The giganteum tolerates the cold and drier weather of Michigan much better than the coast redwood.

We enjoyed seeing the Michigan Champion tree at Lake Bluff in Manistee, Michigan.



A very tall Giant Sequoia tree in Manistee, Michigan.
Michigan Champion Giant Sequoia (media by JC)

Seven of these trees, carried in a coffee can, were brought to Michigan in 1949. Three of the trees adapted and are still thriving as of today. The Michigan Champion Sequoia tree (pictured) is a youngling at 73 years of age in the grand scheme of things. Youngling would be an understatement as these trees can exceed 3000 years. Given that it could potentially develop a root structure up to an acre in diameter, it works out well on a large piece of property here in Manistee, Michigan. I also read that introducing a large tree like this may adversely affect the ecosystem around you. Perhaps I shouldn’t try to plant this tree in our backyard!


If you are so inclined to grow a Sequoia, you can purchase seeds for the Giant Sequoia Here!


Giant Sequoia Facts from savetheredwoods.org:

Tallest Tree: 316 feet located in Redwood Mountain Grove. This is as tall as a 31-story building
Widest Tree: 31.4 feet located in Kings Canyon National Park. Equivalent to the length of 2 Toyota Priuses
Biggest tree: 642 tons in Sequoia National Park, equivalent to about 107 elephants
Giant sequoia forest is the size of 48,000 acres. It is located along the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada. 48,000 acres is equivalent to Cleveland, Ohio.
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