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Planting the redwoods

Hear how we planted the first trees together with school children in March 2016.

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In March 2016 we planted forty saplings of coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens), which could live for 4,000 years and reach 115 metres in height. As they grow, they will form an avenue of giants along the entrance road to Eden. By 2050 they should soar 25m into the sky.

Why are we planting redwoods?

These incredible trees are the tallest living things on Earth. But most of them have been felled over the last 150 years. The remaining trees on the west coast of America are under threat from forest fire, drought and a changing climate. Our mild, damp climate in Cornwall, however, suits them well.

This is the first time a ‘forest’ of these trees from north America has been introduced to Europe. To create it, we joined forces with Archangel Ancient Tree Archive (AATA), an organisation based in northern Michigan, USA, that’s designed to preserve the species. 

Co-founder David Milarch describes the new forest as “a living library of genetics that can be utilised for our generation and for hundreds of generations into the future to rebuild and replace what we’ve damaged.”   

Where did the trees come from?

The trees were among 100 saplings cultivated by AATA’s experts. They were taken as cuttings from living redwoods, and from the basal shoots sprouting around felled stumps. The saplings were then cloned from these.

One of the saplings was a clone of the Fieldbrook Stump, the remains of a famous northern Californian redwood which was felled in 1890 when it was around 3,500 years old. If it had not been cut down, the Fieldbrook redwood would likely be the world’s tallest tree. It left a stump 35 feet in diameter, wider than any other known single trunk. 

A group of Eden apprentices, and children from a nearby school, helped our gardeners plant the trees in March 2016.

Eden’s Co-founder Sir Tim Smit said: “It’s very humbling to be planting these coast redwoods in their early years in the knowledge that they will probably still be here in 4,000 years’ time. This is about the future of Eden and getting young people to embrace horticulture.”

Photo credit: Archangel Ancient Tree Archive