Pictures of Sequoiadendron Growing in NJ, NY and PA

Pictures by Greyneedle. Pictures taken 2002.

(Information Provided is for Recreational Purposes Only--No Liability Assumed) 

There are three Redwood species:
Coast Redwood (of Redwood Forest fame and lumber):  Sequoia sempervirens
Dawn Redwood (Chinese native, deciduous and similar to Bald Cypress in appearance):   Metasequoia glyptostroboides
Giant Redwood/Giant Sequoia (Big Trees of the Sierra Nevada interior, Yosemite and Sequoia Natl Park):  Sequoiadendron giganteum

In the NYC/Philly Area, Metasequoia grows easily, Sequoiadendron grows grudgingly and S. sempervirens generally
will not survive our winters. S.s. is seen growing in coastal Maryland, Virginia and DE (borderline zone 8 areas).

There are some tricks to growing Sequoiadendron in the area, so this site is dedicated to those interested.

The first order of business is to document that they can grow in the area and examine how well:

The Grand Tour and Wigwam Tree near the Hartshorne Woods and Twin Lights State Park, Navesink/Atlantic Highlands NJ. Largest Sequoia in NJ at 65ft. Heavy foliage. Appears healthy. Original top apparently lost (was apparently taller). Zone 7a/Coastal.

One of the wildest looking trees in the state with sturdy trunk, dark green foliage and twisting, hanging branches that seem more like upside-down trees. On private property. Sandy soil on hilltop. This is very near the Atlantic coast and Navesink river.





Reeves-Reed Arboretum sequoia tree. Hobart Ave., Summit, NJ. Public facility. 30 to 40'. Has lost a lot of branches to excess shade and heat/disease stress. Zone 6b/suburban.

Somewhat healthy looking if showing signs of disease and heat stress. The foliage is sparse, owing partly to placement in shade and branches green only at tips. In shale/clay/silt soil on hillside. May be too dry in this location as well. Very close to Rte 24 and Rte 78.





Freylinghuysen Arboretum 'Hazel Smith' sequoia tree. Near Morristown NJ. Large public facility. 20 to 30'. Very little sign of disease. Zone 6a/6b/suburban. Heavy foliage. Soil unknown.

I searched the entire grounds before finding this tree next to the information center! (In my defense it was opposite the parking lot.) Perhaps an original Don Smith donation. Original top lost and growing small new leader. No large branches. (Sign mislabeled, putting tree in "Yew--Taxus" family.) At some point later they trimmed back the lower branches near the walkway, ruining the overall appearance of the tree.




New Jersey State Botanical Gardens 'Hazel Smith' sequoia tree in Ringwood State Park. Large public facility. 50 to 65'. Zone 6b/rural. Heavy foliage. Appears healthy. Soil silty/loam.

Large tree (perhaps the tallest 'Hazel Smith') near the main parking lot. In awkward location. Second, smaller tree nearby. It is so large that I thought it might be 'Glaucum', but the staff said that it was 'recently' planted. (It is 'Hazel Smith'.) Has grape sized waxy nodules on branches that are perhaps disease related. Tends to shed a lot of foliage in dry/hot years, affecting its appearance. Very close to the NY state border.



Willowwood Arboretum 'Hazel Smith' sequoia, Longview Rd, Chester, NJ. Large public facility. 8'. Zone 6a/rural. Shale/silt/loam. Newly planted.

Hard to locate on the vast property of the Willowwood arb. Newly planted in area set aside for recent acquisitions. Very weedy and buggy terrain. The coldest location for a sequoia among those I've seen. There is a second tree (not shown) on the other side of the path, much smaller. Shows signs of cercospora infection and heat stress. Note fencing for deer protection.



Brooklyn Botanical Gardens tree. Height 40 to 50' (see my niece in photo). Zone 7a/7b/urban. Soil unknown. Appears healthy.

Tree on the edge of the pinetum. Appears healthy but did not spend much time looking at tree.



Tyler Arboretum signature tree. Perhaps the oldest sequoia on the East Coast. Supposedly planted in the 1850's, survived having its top removed by a 'Christmas tree thief'. 90'. Zone 6b/suburban. Soil unknown.

Appears to be healthy, but without lowest branches. Sparse foliage and some indications of needle disease. Second, smaller tree is next to it, perhaps for breeding purposes, at lower right in second photo.



The tree was difficult to photograph because of the nearby fence and road. Branches and trunk indicate great age, particularly for a tree in the East.




Base of the tree is approximately 4' in diameter. No indication of how fast the tree is growing. Almost all sequoias in parks get lightning protection.



Newly planted 'Hazel Smith' is below main tree. Perhaps 4 to 5' tall. Appears healthy. Picture taken from great distance and enlarged. Note bright blue foliage in comparison.



Here is the most detailed Zonal Map of the East I could find. I have enlarged it and done some photo enhancement to improve its resolution.

It shows Zone 7 in pink, Zone 6 in yellow, Zone 5 in green, Zone 4 in blue, Zone 3 in red, etc.

Sequoias are nominally Zone 6 plants, preferring Zone 7, with a rain-free Sierra-like climate of snowy winters and sunny summers, with moderate temperatures all year.

Of particular interest here are the Zone 6 areas around Lakes Michigan, Erie, Huron and below Lake Ontario (NY State). The Geneva, NY tree (not shown), by this map, appears to fall along a 6a/5b border in north central NY (just below the eastern third of Lake Ontario). The Lake Michigan tree might also lie in a Zone 6 area. Most of the trees I've found are 6b or warmer. For people in colder locations, you will need to use some judgment. High summer heat is also an issue along with soil conditions.

Not photographed was a 'Hazel Smith' newly planted at Georgian Court College in Lakehurst, NJ, Zone 7a/suburban. The tree was labeled simply 'sequoia' but was clearly HS. Other trees not photographed included ones found in various local nurseries.

Further Links:
Exotic Tree Home Page
Giant Sequoia Growing in NJ, NY and PA
More GS Photos in NYC/Philly Area
Photos of Area GS from Middle 2004
Photos of Area GS from Late 2004
Photos of GS Diseases
More Photos of GS Diseases
Conifer Winter Bronzing Photos
GS Photos from Other Photographers
Some Other Exotic Tree Species
Bald Cypress and Dawn Redwood Bark Photos

Germination Trials for growing by seed:
Summary of Tips for Growing GS from Seeds
Environmental Considerations
Germination Trials I
Germination Trials II
Germination Trials III
Germination Trials IV