The Majestic Dawn Redwood: A Living Fossil in Your Garden

With our rich history and diverse landscapes in the UK, we have always been a haven for unique and beautiful flora. Among the myriad of trees that grace our gardens and parks, there’s one that stands out not just for its beauty, but also for its incredible history: the Dawn Redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides).

A Glimpse into the Past

The Dawn Redwood is often referred to as a ‘living fossil’. This isn’t just a poetic term; it’s a nod to the tree’s ancient lineage. Fossil records show that the Dawn Redwood existed over 50 million years ago, during the time of the dinosaurs. For a long period, it was believed to be extinct, known only through these fossils. However, in the 1940s, living specimens were discovered in China, leading to a resurgence of interest and cultivation around the world, including here in the UK.

A Perfect Fit for the UK Climate

While the Dawn Redwood is native to China, it has found a comfortable home in the UK’s temperate climate. The tree is deciduous, shedding its needle-like leaves in the autumn, which turn a beautiful coppery-red before falling. This makes it a spectacular addition to any garden, especially during the autumn months.

Cultivating Your Own Piece of History

For those in the UK looking to add a touch of prehistoric beauty to their gardens, the Dawn Redwood is an excellent choice. It’s a fast-growing tree, often reaching heights of over 20 metres within just a few decades. While it thrives in moist, well-drained soils, it’s also surprisingly adaptable to various soil types.

When planting a Dawn Redwood, choose a spot that receives ample sunlight. While the tree can tolerate some shade, it flourishes best in sunny conditions. Regular watering during its early years will ensure a strong, healthy growth, but once established, the Dawn Redwood is relatively low-maintenance.


The Dawn Redwood is more than just a tree; it’s a testament to nature’s resilience and the passage of time. By introducing this living fossil into your UK garden, you’re not only enhancing the beauty of your outdoor space but also becoming a steward of a piece of Earth’s ancient history. Embrace the majesty of the Dawn Redwood and let it transport your garden back to a time when giants roamed the Earth.

About the author

Dave Green

With a deep-rooted passion for nature and a decade-long journey nurturing redwood trees, Dave stands as a dedicated steward of these majestic giants. Over the past ten years, Dave has meticulously cultivated redwood trees, witnessing their growth from mere saplings to towering sentinels of the natural world. As a UK-based enthusiast, Dave has developed a profound understanding of the intricacies of redwood tree care, adaptation to local climates, and their unique appeal in British landscapes. Through Dave's expert insights and hands-on experience, readers are invited to explore the enchanting world of redwood trees and discover the wonders that these living monuments bring to our surroundings.