Coast Redwood

(Sequoia sempervirens)

The mystical giant
The coast redwood is a long-living, giant conifer native to the coast of northern California and southern Oregon, although the genus once spanned the globe. It can live well over 1,000 years! Although its presence is no longer global, its beauty and size are still known the world over. The name redwood comes from the reddish-brown color of the heartwood, which is coveted but also protected in national, state and local parks.

Coast redwood is the rarest forest type in Oregon. It is the northernmost extension of the much larger redwood forest of northern California, reaching only about 10 miles across the border into southern Oregon. In general, Oregon's redwoods are found on mountainous slopes, rather than in river bottoms like their California counterparts. As a result they tend to be smaller than their southern neighbors.

The coast redwood is one tough tree. Its bark is so thick – up to 12 inches deep – that it is highly resistant to fire damage. The heartwood of the coast redwood is resilient and repels insects and decay. And if you see many little trees near one another, they may just be coming from the same root system. Redwoods are notorious for sprouting. It can reach more than 3 feet in diameter and more than 100 feet in height in 50 to 60 years. Most trees grow to be more than 300 feet tall and 10 feet wide. 

Oftentimes, huckleberry, ferns, wood rose and salmonberry bushes are found in the understory of redwood forests along with chickadees, hummingbirds and Vaux's swifts. Debris on the forest floor is quite important, as fallen trees, needles and dead plants provide nutrients for redwoods and ferns.

The coastal redwood is tolerant of shade and likes moist, well-drained areas, although freezing can damage it. It prefers wet, mild maritime climates with frequent summer fog because “fog drip” is an important source of moisture during dry summer months.

Redwood forests can be managed as even- or uneven-aged stands, with clearcut or individual tree selection harvesting techniques. The beautiful wood from these forests is used for a variety of lumber, furniture, and bark products.


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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