Topping Redwoods Trees & Seed Germination Problems

Question:

 I have several redwood trees and the lower five feet of the trunks are bare. If I were to top these trees, would branches develop on the lower trunk and shade the roots? 

Answer:

  • I doubt you will get the desired effect of lateral branches developing if you were to top the Redwoods.
    • There are no dormant buds at the base of each branch, so they grow back when they are removed. Also, topping redwoods isn't recommended. Their nature growth habit is to be a tall, stately tree that tappers down from the top. Flatting the top would give it an unnatural look.
    • You could let the sucker at the base develop to fill in the gap, but eventually, you have multiple tall trees. Sequoia sempervirens or the Coast Redwood, suckers easily. However, this is not the case with the named varieties, such as Soquel, and Aptos Blue.
  • The easiest way to shade the roots of Redwoods is to mulch the area under the canopy. Mulching helps conserve moisture while insulating the roots from the hot sun. A two to three-inch layer under the canopy and beyond is recommended. The tree(s) natural litter is the perfect mulch. However, this debris is many times removed for the manicured or pristine look. Unfortunately, it can come back to 'Bite You.'
    • Water conservation is critical as Redwoods require frequent watering once the rainy season ends. Unlike pine, cedars, deodar, redwoods are not drought tolerant. They're shallow-rooted and suffer from water stress during hot weather. Especially when the sun rays heats the soil up under the canopy of the trees, the needles catch moisture from the marine influence in their natural habitat. Moisture then drips slowly down onto the roots; however, it's too dry and warm for that to happen inland.
    • A common mistake made when watering a Redwood tree is that not enough water is applied or it's not uniformly distributed under the canopy. Established trees on drip irrigation and soaker hoses suffer more than those watered by conventional sprinklers.
    • There is a misconception that if you puddle water in one spot, all the roots benefit. The whole idea behind watering is to get the entire root system wet. The root system of a Redwood is uniformly spread around and under the canopy of the tree. Hence, the need to make sure this entire area is wet.

Question:

 I've been unsuccessful in getting flower seeds to germinate. Seeds were placed in peat pots loosely filled with potting soil about a quarter of an inch deep and watered. The pots were re-watered about every other day. After three weeks, no signs of life. What am I doing wrong?

Answer:

  • I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but I have a couple of suggestions when you attempt this again. Dry, loose soil can be hard to wet. So before sowing the seed, I'd pre-moisten the soil. But first, press or tamp down the soil in the pots, so it's firm. This will remove any of the large air pockets.
  • Also, you will find that it's easier to wet the soil. I'd use a pencil to sow the seed to create a hole in the moist soil and then drop in the seed.