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A Guide to the Giant Sequoias of Yosemite National Park (1949) by James W. McFarland


COMPARISON OF GIANT SEQUOIA WITH THE COAST REDWOOD

There are over fifty differences between the two kinds of trees, in many other respects similar. The characteristics which they have in common are: Evergreen, cone-bearing, reddish bark and reddish heartwood, absence of resin cells and abundance of tannin.

GIANT SEQUOIA COAST REDWOOD
Reproduction and Growth:
    Cones, large 1 3/4 to 2 3/4 inches long; mature second season; may be retained up to 20 years.
Cone scales, from 35 to 40 in each cone.
Seeds, from 150 to 300 in each cone.
Reproduction by seeds only.
Young trees not tolerant of shade.
Mixed stands generally found.
Cones, smaller, from 5/8 inch to 1 1/8 inches long; mature first season; shed the first season.
Cone scales, from 14 to 24 in each cone.
Seeds, from 50 to 60 in each cone.
Reproduction by seeds and root sprouts.
Young trees moderately tolerant of shade.
Pure stands often found.
Cultivation:
    Moderate use in reforestation.
Extensive planting as ornamental in Europe, Asia, and many parts of North America.
Extensive use in reforestation.
Extensive planting as ornamental in Hawaii, New Zealand, southern Europe, and warmer parts of North America.
Bark, Leaf and Root Characters:
    Rich cinnamon-brown bark. Bark deeply furrowed with large ridges.
Bark from 1/2 to 2 feet thick at base of trunks of large trees. Leaves small, scale-like, resembling those of juniper or cypress. Leaves awl-shaped, sessile, 1/12 to 1/2 inch long, appressed all around the stem.
Root spread from 100 to 150 feet from base of tree at from 6-8 feet below surface of ground.
Dull red, richly colored bark. Bark shallowly fissured with small ridges.
Bark from 1/4 to 1 foot thick at base of trunks of large trees. Leaves flat, needle-like, resembling hemlock or fir leaves. Leaves linear, petioled, from 1/4 to 1 1/4 inches long, spreading in two flat ranks.
Root spread from 40 to 50 feet from base of tree at from 4-6 feet below surface of ground.
Commercial Uses:
    Wood brittle, light and weak.
Wood has a tendency to break crosswise when tree is felled.
Waste in lumbering from 45 to 50 per cent (up to 80% in large trees).
Almost no lumbering at the present time.
Dry weight of wood 26.2 lbs. per cu. ft.
Wood has a tendency to split lengthwise when tree is felled. Waste in lumbering from 25 to 50 per cent.
Over half a million board feet lumbered each year; the redwood lumber of commerce.
Burls:
    Burls cut from tree will not grow new foliage.
Burls have little commercial value.
Burls cut from tree and placed in moist location will grow new foliage.
Burls valuable for table tops, curios, etc.
Size and Age:
    Average diameter of mature trees from 28 to 32 feet.
Maximum known base diameter 40.3 feet.
Height of many trees from 250 to 300 feet.
Average age of mature trees from 2,000 to 3,000 years.
Greatest reported age 4,000 years.
Average diameter of mature trees from 12 to 16 feet.
Maximum known base diameter. 22.8 feet.
Height of many trees from 300 to 350 feet.
Average age of mature trees from 800 to 1,500 years.
Greatest reported age 2,000 years.

Twig of coast redwood. Note needle-like alternate leaves and leafy cone-stalks.
Twig of coast redwood. Note needle-like alternate leaves and leafy cone-stalks.

Twig of giant sequoia. Note scale-like leaves and larger cones.
Twig of giant sequoia. Note scale-like leaves and larger cones.

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