Metasequoia sapling care


1) I am so excited about my new metasequoia sapling that the city planted in my front yard two weeks ago. It’s about 5 feet tall. My yard is a hill, south facing, lots of sun.
Q: How can I best care for my new sapling? Should I add some root enhancer now or in the spring? Should I burlap it? Should I water it frequently now? or in the spring?
Many thanks for any tips!!


Dear Gardener

Thank you for reaching out to Toronto Master Gardeners with your questions about the care of your Metasequoia sapling. Metasequoia glyptostroboides (common name – Dawn Redwood) is a deciduous, coniferous tree native to central and western China. Given its history of fossil records dating back over fifty million years in China (100 million years in western Canada), it is truly a unique and beautiful tree and your excitement is understandable. While Metasequoia is low maintenance, resistant to most diseases and insect pests and tolerant of air pollution and various soil types, it prefers consistent moisture with good drainage. The location of your tree meets its need for full sun.

Root enhancer and/or fertilizer is not recommended in the fall nor the spring in order to avoid burning the roots and root development beyond the planting hole. Mulching with organic material is the preferred nutrient source. A 2-3 inch deep organic mulch outward to the drip line (end of the branches) will help protect its roots from the freeze/thaw cycle and nourish the soil and tree. Avoid placing mulch against the trunk to avoid rotting. Once the snow falls, provide a good covering of snow around the tree to help insulate it from the cold and freeze/thaw cycle. For the next couple of years, you may provide a burlap wrap or screen to protect your tree from early fall frost and drying winter wind. Please click on this link for more details: winter wind protection.

Hydration is important for all trees until the soil freezes, and in particular for Metasequoia. Your sapling requires at least 2.5 cm of water on its root zone, from the trunk to the drip line, each week until the ground freezes solid.

For further information on mulching, please click on Mulching Landscape Trees.

Wishing you much enjoyment of your Metasequoia!