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Giant tree adds impact to large landscapes By Gary L. Wade

Plant the 2010 Georgia Gold Medal deciduous tree winner – the Ogon Dawn Redwood – for a dazzling focal point in large public spaces. Its brilliant, golden-yellow foliage glows in the sunlight, grabs the attention of passing motorists and pedestrians and draws them into the landscape.

Ogon Dawn Redwood is a large, deciduous conifer reaching 70 to 100 feet tall and 25 feet wide at maturity, so it may not be the best tree for residential landscapes. However, it makes a spectacular showing when planted in groups of two or three along ponds or lakes where its golden foliage can be reflected by the water. It also is a great plant for framing golf course fairways or creating a focal point in large scenic vistas within public parks.

At first glance, Ogon Dawn Redwood looks a lot like our native bald cypress. However, the redwood has larger needle-like leaflets that are arranged in a flat plane along the stem. Those of the bald cypress spiral around the stem.

The leaflets emerge golden yellow in spring and hold their color well throughout the summer, eventually fading to orange-brown in the fall.

Like other dawn redwoods, Ogon Dawn Redwood contains male and female flowers on the same tree. Male flowers are borne on long panicles up to 12 inches long, while female flowers are solitary, becoming pendulous cones 1 to 2 inches long by the end of the growing season.

The bark is reddish brown on young trees. It becomes chocolate-brown with age and exfoliates into narrow strips that peel back from the trunk and appear to be flaking off.

Ogon Dawn Redwood is a moderately fast grower when provided with moist, well-drained soils. It reaches 50 feet in 25 years. It has a natural pyramidal form, so little to no pruning is required.

Ogon Dawn Redwood hails from the Eastern Szechuan Province in southwestern China, but it is perfectly adapted to our North American climate and soils. It prefers full sun and grows well in hardiness zones 5 to 8.

(Gary Wade is a Cooperative Extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Ogon Dawn Redwood closeup
Ogon Dawn Redwood closeup

Ogon Dawn Redwood, the 2010 Georgia Gold Medal tree selection, has unique golden foliage that glows in the summer sun and is the perfect choice for pond edges, parks and large public spaces.

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Ogon Dawn Redwood, the 2010 Georgia Gold Medal tree selection, has unique golden foliage that glows in the summer sun and is the perfect choice for pond edges, parks and large public spaces. Download Image
Ogon Dawn Redwood
Ogon Dawn Redwood

Ogon Dawn Redwood, the 2010 Georgia Gold Medal tree selection, has unique golden foliage that glows in the summer sun and is the perfect choice for pond edges, parks and large public spaces.

Download Image
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