I have a small sequoia tree which I got from the San Francisco airport as a seedling. I planted it in January 2012 and it has been growing (slowly) and seemed healthy - it is about a foot tall and is planted in normal soil. I notice recently that the needles are browning starting from the base all the way up until about an inch from the top.

Any idea why this would be happening or what I can do to fix this (assuming it needs to be fixed)?

  • possible duplicate of How to care for a large redwood?
    – kevinskio
    Jan 17 '13 at 14:53
  • While helpful, my question pertains to a baby potted tree, not a mature outdoor tree as in the linked question. I'm hoping someone can provide some specific insight regarding my situation - thank you though.
    – Josh M.
    Jan 17 '13 at 14:59
  • Sounds like it's dried up?
    – DA.
    Jan 18 '13 at 20:18

Now you've said it's in a pot, that might be the problem. These trees have a root mass which spreads out laterally, and if you have it contained in the same pot as a year ago, it's possible it's either unable to produce enough root to support healthy growth, or is completely pot bound. I suggest you turn it out of the pot and check what's going on - if it has a solid mass of roots, it needs a much bigger pot, because the ratio of soil to root is incorrect, meaning the plant cannot take up sufficient water to remain healthy because there's not enough soil to hold any water.

  • Okay, I will check. It's possible I was under-watering it so I'm keeping the soil moist now and have noticed it seems to have perked up a bit. Thanks for the advice!
    – Josh M.
    Jan 21 '13 at 21:33

Browning is often caused by an inability tree to uptake enough water to keep its needles alive. When moisture is over abundant and drainage is poor, root rot is often the culprit. Instead of watering; spray it with a spray bottle til the soil is damp and spongy. Giant sequoia grows in a sandy loam soil. Adequate water needs, soak it then leave it to the sun. But these trees while they LOVE sun in their adult years as seedlings, filtered light is a must.

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