The Upsides and Downsides of Owning a Redwood Tree

If you live in California or in another Western coastal state, you have an amazing opportunity: the possibility of owning a massive redwood tree.

Many people think of these trees as rare. That’s because old-growth redwood like the ones in Muir woods national monument are indeed very rare. Smaller, newer, redwood trees, however, are actually quite common and easy to grow. They thrive in many climates and western states, and many homeowners may find themselves with a redwood in their yard if they buy a house in California.

Owning a redwood tree is a joyful thing. These massive trees grow quickly. They’re easy to maintain, and get much of their water from rain, fog, and sources deep underground that their long roots are able to reach. They’re also majestic, make a wonderful habitat for a wide range of wildlife, and also act as a great shade tree and screen to make your home feel secluded.

The needles and leaves that they shed also blanket the ground under these majestic trees, dampening noise and providing excellent mulch. Redwoods are fairly disease resistant, so there’s not too much that you need to worry about in terms of tree diseases.

Redwoods also grow 5 or more feet in a year, making them an excellent tree if you’ve built a new home and need a fast-growing screen to provide privacy and block wind.

That said, there are some downsides to owning a redwood tree. One big factor is the amount of needles that your redwood can drop. Those tend to blanket the area under the tree, requiring removal each season.

Redwoods also grow extremely tall, so you need plenty of room for a mature tree. You also don’t want to grow them around power lines, or near other trees or landscaping. As the tree matures, it will shade out the other landscaping around its base.

That said, redwood trees are majestic and have many benefits. I have one in my own front yard and I’m very happy that it’s there. As long as you understand the upsides and downsides, there’s no reason not to grow a redwood in your own yard if you live in an appropriate climate.

Live in the Bay Area and want to see redwood trees? No need to own one–you can take a tour of Muir Woods!

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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