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Dawn Redwood  RSS feed

 
Posts: 96
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
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Crazy question or idea how ever you want to categorize it.
Dawn Redwood was used by the local farmers in the valley where it grew in china in the 40s as a fodder crop for their animals.
So saying that along with how fast it grows could it not be a reasonable option to heavily plant several acres with the dawn redwood with say 8 feet spacing’s?
Then thin those out every few years in the same methods used is the teak forest. With the speed of growth it would be reasonable to have eight inch saw logs within a decade. If the rule of thumb for one foot of spacing every inch of trunk then the original eight foot of spacing would allow the harvest of an eight inch saw log before overcrowding becomes a problem. The dawn redwood also grows well from the cut stumps according to what I have read. The means the follow on cuttings could be mulched or turned into a fuel source.
The big question is what plants would be compatible with the dawn redwood. It is a conifer species so would it kill off other useful plants. Its tolerance of high acid soil may make it a good candidate for reclaiming distressed land.
I guess the biggest problem is the tree has mainly been planted as a specimen tree and not really researched as a timber species due to the extreme low numbers in the 1940s when it was discovered in the remote valley in China.
I need to also find out if there would be a market for the wood. I could easily see a small home workshop business from the trees when my son needs college money.
 
Posts: 231
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
12
duck forest garden trees woodworking
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Yes!
I got my account set up just so I could ask you this...
Is this the tree I keep seeing in nursery catalogs that apparently attracts dinosaurs to your yard? That looks really awesome and I want one!

In all seriousness I would like to know more about it and if anyone has tried it in a permaculture system
 
John Sizemore
Posts: 96
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
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Basically the history as I understand it is there are no mature plantations yet out side its original range in China. It was reported to be used as a fodder tree there so who knows?
 
Posts: 362
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
7
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Redwoods are something that are underused in food forests IMO. Sure they are not edible, but they are at a different level of canopy than anything else, and by the time the second generation uses your food forest they will reap the benefits of the redwoods. What benefits are these you say? Why a fog drip... Google it.
 
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
2
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In their native range (I'm talking about regular redwoods, not dawn redwoods), redwoods' main function is holding the land in place. Careless clear-cutting often results in slopes sliding off into rivers, sometimes taking houses with them. They would be great for a temperate climate with soil instability issues.
However, I don't know enough about dawn redwoods to know if they perform the same function. They are quite a bit hardier, though.
I could see them being of use in a food forest, but only if planted fairly thinly, so as to not crowd/shade out your food. Or each other.
If dawn redwoods are anything like regular redwoods, they grow very, very fast, grow back from cut stumps aggressively, and are a soft wood, good for mulch wood or possibly firewood, and any application that you can find for a very soft wood, such as decks and carvings (from the burls).
<sigh> I want a redwood; I miss them a lot. If I ever get a chance to buy land without a house literally within yards of any space I could plant it...
 
Posts: 242
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
16
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I know this is an older (6 years) thread.

Metasequoia now seems to have 2 home areas in China, one of which has almost disappeared (and possibly will).

Many people have accidentally cut down a metasequoia thinking it was dead, only to have it grow back from the roots.  Not everybody has seen deciduous conifers.  Larch/tamarack is another that is deciduous.

Like baldy cypress, metasequoia is known to grow in standing water.  It will tolerate dry areas once established.  It prefers a low pH, humusy soil.  It will tolerate clay and other soils.  It will tolerate a fair amount of pollution.  I believe I read that it doesn't like road salt.

Metasequoia doesn't like competing for light, and it likes lots of light.

I ran across a couple of evaluations of it in terms of lumber.  The wood apparently is brittle, and hence the people in question thought it wasn't a good prospect for wood.

It is a fast growing tree.  Lots of reports talk about 1 foot per year, I think one report said 2-3 feet per year possible.  There was a report of a growth ring that was 1 inch thick.

I seen nothing about durability of the wood, other than it was sometimes found in the bottom of some rice paddies.

There is a person/organization trying to set up a metasequoia forest on the east coast, I believe in North Carolina.  He is trying to plant it in the company of the trees (or analogues to those trees) that typically grow in the "native range" in China.  
http://www.dawnredwood.org/
The circumstances of where it is found in China, leads me to think that where it is found in China, is not its native range.  Those 2 area could easily be fringe to where it was found natively, and it just happens that those are the last two places it has survived.  I would take how well it grows in places other than these two locations in China as evidence of that.
 
Gordon Haverland
Posts: 242
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
16
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LouisThePlantGeek.com also has suggestions of a different nature for companion planting to DawnRedwood.org
 
Posts: 265
Location: 4b
47
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I have 5 of them that I planted quite a few years ago.  They grow fairly slowly on my property, I would estimate a foot to foot and a half a year, but they are beautiful trees.  I have new land and I plan to plant them at various areas, some nearer water to see if they grow faster.  
 
Posts: 213
Location: Stone Garden Farm Richfield Twp., Ohio
13
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We planted a 9' Dawn Redwood 6 years ago. I would guess it's about 30' now. We dowsed the farm to find the location the tree wanted the most. And it has been growing incredibly. We really like it, and plan on planting more soon. Great, great tree. Now becoming commonly available at nurseries around here.
 
Gordon Haverland
Posts: 242
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
16
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A paper out of Poland (I believe) on mechanical properties.

http://pawelkozakiewicz.waw.pl/files,219.download

The wood seems to be similar to western red cedar to me.  Still no idea on durability.


 
Gordon Haverland
Posts: 242
Location: Dawson Creek, BC, Canada
16
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WoodworkingNetwork had a page on Dawn Redwood materials properties.  By and large, the same as similar redwood properties.  As Dawn Redwwod is slightly faster growing, this results in wood densities being slightly less.  So one could expect the heartwood to have reasonable durability and the sapwood to not be durable.  To me, the densities seem to be approaching "dense" balsa.  Machining concerns would be similar to redwood (sharp tools to avoid fuzzing and so on).
 
Humans and their filthy friendship brings nothing but trouble. My only solace is this tiny ad:
Food Forest Card Game - Game Forum
https://permies.com/t/61704/Food-Forest-Card-Game-Game
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