Giant Sequoia Questions
The General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park in California is 52,500+ cubic feet in volume. That makes it the largest tree on earth.
A tree in the Redwood Mountain Grove, Kings Canyon National Park is reported to be 310 feet tall. Also a tree of the same height is reported in the South Calaveras Grove in Big Trees State Park.
The General Grant tree of Kings Canyon National Park is commonly believed to have the largest diameter trunk of 40.3 feet. There is said to be an unnamed tree in the Alder Creek Grove which is a freakish tree with a huge buttress that measures 57 feet in diameter.
The sequoias have a matting, shallow, and wide spreading root system. There is no taproot. They only root to 12 to 14 feet deep even at maturity. A mature sequoia’s roots can occupy over 1 acre of earth and contain over 90,000 cubic feet of soil. That mass of matted roots and soil has to maintain the equilibrium of a tree that is nearly 300 feet tall and weighs nearly 2 million pounds.
It is impossible to determine on a living tree. The ring count on a stump near the Chicago Stump is reported to be 3,126 to 3,200 making the fallen tree around 3200 years old at its untimely death.
The largest sequoia is the General Sherman Tree. The General Sherman is 275 feet tall, has a circumference of 102 feet, and a diameter of 30 feet. At a height of 180 feet the General Sherman Tree maintains a 13 feet diameter. The Sherman Tree is the largest because it contains the largest volume of wood of any tree on earth. In 1987 it was estimated to contain 52,508 cubic feet of wood.
The General Grant Tree has the greatest trunk diameter at 40.3 feet.
An unnamed tree in the Alder Creek Grove has the largest trunk circumference at 155 feet.
The tallest is a tie of two unnamed trees at 310 feet tall in Redwood Mountain Grove and South Calaveras Grove. Sequoias have the potential to grow even taller but they lose their tops to lightning strikes once they outgrow the surrounding trees usually at about 275 feet.
The oldest living giant sequoia cannot be determined. The Chicago Stump ring count puts that tree at 3200 years at its untimely demise.
There are 65 named groves.
The total area of the naturally occurring giant sequoia groves is approximately 35,600 acres.
The northernmost grove is the Placer Grove in Tahoe National Forest. It is also called the American River Grove.
The southernmost grove is the Dear Creek Grove in the Sequoia National Forest.
The coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is native to the coastal hills of central California to the coastal hills of southern Oregon. The Pacific coastal hills have a moderate climate influenced by the Pacific Ocean. The giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is native to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of central California. The Sierra Nevada Mountains are much higher and have less climatic influence from the ocean. The winters in the Sierras can be severe and are seldom moderate. The Sunset New Western Garden Book says that the coast redwood is good from zone 4 to warmer. Zone 4 goes to –7F. I think that is a stretch for long-term survival of a coast redwood specimen. I have seen coast redwoods here in zone 4 suffer and die from temperatures around 0F. The giant sequoia however is considered good for “all zones” and to low temperatures of –30F and perhaps colder.
The coast redwoods are the tallest trees on earth (to 350 feet) and the giant sequoias are the most massive (to 40 feet in trunk diameter). The giant sequoias have the potential to grow as tall as a coast redwood but always wind up losing their tops to a lightning strike in the severe weather of their native mountains. A mature coast redwood is a mere twig compared to a mature giant sequoia.
The elevation of the lowest naturally occurring giant sequoia is 2,800 feet. That tree is in Clough Cave Grove west of Sequoia National Park.
The bark can be up to 3 feet thick.
The highest naturally occurring giant sequoia is located at 8,800 feet in elevation of the Atwell Mill Grove of Sequoia National Park, California.