DAWN REDWOOD (Metasequoia Glyptosroboides) - Plant & Care Information

Posted on 11 Jun 23:08

DAWN REDWOOD (Metasequoia Glyptosroboides)
  Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides, the Dawn Redwood, is a fast-growing, critically endangered deciduous conifer tree, sole living species of the genus Metasequoia, and one of three species of conifers known as redwoods. It is native to Manchuria China. Local villagers refer to the original tree from which most others derive as Shui-sa, or "water fir," which is part of a local shrine.
The Dawn Redwood is a true Redwood. Like our Redwoods they are a living fossil of an isolated "relic" species from a long time ago when there were vast forests of them. After the tree's rediscovery in 1940s, the seeds were introduced in the U.S.  In the US, the dawn redwood has become a popular ornamental tree in parks and gardens.
The leaves are opposite and bright fresh green, turning a red-brown in fall before dropping. The foliage is lacier than native U.S. Redwoods.  However what makes the Dawn Redwood very different from other Redwoods is that it is deciduous.
The pollen cones are small, scaly and produced on long spikes in early spring (present only in hot-summer climates). The cones are globose to ovoid, arranged in opposite pairs in four rows, each pair at right angles to the adjacent pair.
In nature this redwood loves moist to wet soils.  As you might expect, this means it is not drought-tolerant, particularly when young.  As a Bonsai you must be sure to keep this tree watered.
Easy to care for, Dawn Redwood has been found to be very tolerant of urban pollution. It seems to thrive best in almost rainforest conditions, and the high humidity found in much of the U.S.  Hardy in Zones 4-8 in the wild. As a Bonsai it needs additional protection from cold; call it hardy to zone 5, w/ protection.

How to Take Proper Care of Your Bonsai Tree
Bonsai is the reproduction of natural tree forms in miniature. This art form has its origin in Japan and China where it has been practiced for centuries.  Bonsai are grown in pots and are totally dependent on you for their care. With proper care, your bonsai will remain healthy, beautiful and miniature for many years to come.
Since your bonsai is a living miniature tree, it will increase in beauty as it matures through the years. The instructions below are just the basics and, therefore, we recommend that you purchase one of the many fine books available on the subject.


Fall & Winter Placement
A Dawn Redwood Bonsai is a living miniature tree and not a house plant; therefore, your bonsai must be maintained in a cool/cold environment during the winter season.
As a guide, around Thanksgiving Day; before the soil freezes, but after the tree has started to prepare itself for dormancy; it is time to prepare the winter location for your Bonsai.  This dormancy period should last approximately three (3) months.
This can be accomplished in several ways:
One method is to bury your tree in the ground (preferably without the pot) up to the rim of the container/former container and then mulch up to the first branch.
It is best to choose a location that is protected from wind and sun, but not rain or snow.  You can also surround the tree about 1-11/2 ft out with a burlap or mesh sheet which is taller then the tree that will hold the leaves, to make sure they do not blow away, & for additional protection from wind. Choose a spot as sheltered as possible, close to a house is usually warmer.
Second method; also common is to place your tree(s) in an unheated garage or shed. During this time, your tree does not require light because it is in a dormant state; however, it will require watering approximately every two weeks. Check ever few days to every week, for the first year, or when over wintering in a new spot which does not get rain.
Make sure the soil does not go dry; REM the roots are alive and need moisture; remember moisture is lost thru evaporation as well as use by the plant.

Spring & Summer Placement
Throughout the spring, summer and fall your Bonsai should be placed outside, such as on a patio, balcony, terrace, or in a garden.
Once outside, your Bonsai should be positioned where it will receive sufficient sun; morning sun and afternoon shade is best. A Bonsai can be viewed best when it is placed approximately three to four feet high (eye level), such as on a table, wall or bench.
A Bonsai can and should be brought into the house on special occasions and displayed in a prominent place. Your Bonsai should not remain inside for more than a few days at a time, as the atmosphere is detrimental to the health of your tree.

The watering of your Bonsai must never be neglected. Apply water when the soil appears dry; never allow the soil to become completely dry. If your Bonsai is receiving full sun, it may be necessary to water once a day or more. This schedule may vary with the size pot, type of soil and type of Bonsai tree you own. Evaluate each tree's water requirements and adjust your watering schedule to accommodate it. If you are inexperienced or unsure, it is a good idea to use a moisture meter until you get to know the requirements of your Bonsai tree.
Watering should be done with a watering can or hose attachment which should dispense the water in a soft enough manner as not to disturb the soil. Water should be applied until it begins running out of the holes in the bottom of your pot. A good rain is usually a sufficient watering.

During the warm months, if your bonsai is in a climate which is dry or very warm, we recommend placing it in a shallow tray filled with a layer of gravel with water added. This provides extra moisture around the tree as the water evaporates

Fertilizing is also necessary if your bonsai is to remain healthy and beautiful. Since your bonsai is growing in such a small amount of soil it is necessary to replenish the soil's supply of nutrients periodically. Any general-purpose liquid fertilizer will do fine and is available at most garden centers. We suggest that fertilizers be used at half their recommended strength.
Fertilizer should be applied at least once a month except during winter. Your bonsai will also respond well to foliar feeding, with a water-soluble fertilizer applied every other month as a spray.

This brief explanation of basic care does not cover training. Training deals with the art of bonsai and should be thoroughly understood before undertaking -- or left to a professional. However, most of the true bonsai trees you find have already been through their training period, thus requiring only periodic trimming and pinching to remain miniature.

Trimming and pinching keep your tree miniature. Pinch and trim back the new growth to the farthest safe point. Never should all of the new growth be removed. A little should be left to sustain the health of the tree. Tropical and sub-tropical trees used for bonsai will require periodic pinching and trimming throughout the year. Since different trees grow at different rates, it is necessary to evaluate each tree’s rate of growth and adjust your trimming and pinching to accommodate it.

Repotting must be performed periodically on all bonsai when their root system has filled the pot. The reasons for repotting are to supply your tree with fresh soil, and to encourage a more compact root system. As a rule, most deciduous trees require repotting every two or three years, while evergreens only need to be repotted every four or five years. Since trees grow at different rates, this schedule will not always hold true, therefore, you should examine your tree's root system each year to determine if it has become pot-bound.
In most cases, the potting process is easy and safe if performed properly and at the right time of the year. Repotting should be done in mid-summer. The tree, along with all of its soil, should be removed from the pot. The outer and bottom most fourth of the tree's root mass should be removed. This is done by raking the soil away, then pruning back the roots. In most cases, it is not good to prune back more than one fourth of the tree's root mass. After this, the tree can be placed back in its original pot or into another. The pot should have screen placed over the drainage holes. Then a thin layer of small gravel is placed in the bottom of the pot for drainage purposes. On top of this gravel is placed the new fresh soil. Place a layer of well-draining soil which is sufficient enough to elevate the tree to its previous height in the pot. After placing the tree back in the pot, the area left vacant by the pruned root mass should be filled in with fresh soil. This fresh soil should be worked in around and under the root mass in such a manner as to avoid leaving any air pockets. After repotting, your bonsai should be thoroughly watered. This can be achieved by submerging the entire pot in a tub of water. Moss or other ground covers can be used to cover the surface of the pot to help prevent soil erosion when watering.

Since your bonsai is a tree in miniature, it can be treated for insects and diseases the same as any other tree. If you discover any insects or diseases, visit our website where you will be able to obtain the necessary products to eliminate the problem.