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Dawn Redwood

 
John Sizemore
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.
 
S Haze
Posts: 226
Location: Southern Minnesota, USA, zone 4/5
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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?
 
Shawn Harper
Posts: 353
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
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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.
 
Varina Lakewood
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
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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...
 
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