Eleven years ago, when my husband and I first visited Dallas, before we found a house or a church or a grocery store, I fell in love. I fell madly in love with two trees. We were driving into town on Merchants Drive, it was the middle of summer and I knew that I was home.

Being a plant nut, of course, I always notice the trees and flowers and shrubs along the road, but this was different. I glanced over to the right, as we passed East Memorial, I saw two huge conifers. I assumed they were some sort of Cedar and made a note to check them out one day when I had time. To make a long story short, we found our little house in downtown Dallas and moved in October.

It was that fall that I noticed a difference in my beautiful trees. They were turning a bright reddish brown. What could be wrong? Before we were even unpacked, I walked several blocks to check them out. This is what I found ...

These were not Cedars at all; they were Dawn Redwoods, Metasequoia glyptostroboides.

Dawn Redwoods were thought to be extinct until 1941. They were first described as a fossil from the Mesozoic Era in 1941. When a small stand of these trees were found in China in 1944, botanists around the world became interested. In 1948, the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University sent an expedition to collect seeds. These seeds were distributed to various universities and arboreta worldwide for growth trials.

How and when did these very special trees get to Paulding County? We have heard a lot of theories on the subject but are not sure exactly when or how they got here. If anyone knows how the trees got to Dallas, please leave me a message at the Extension Service in Paulding County 770-443-7616. I would love for you to share with me, what you know. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

This is what we know about Dawn Redwoods …

see Redwoods/page 3

They are fast growing deciduous trees. They look a lot like evergreen conifers until fall, when they turn brown and defoliate. They get up to 150-feet-tall and prefer moist soil but will tolerate dry soil once they are established. These ancient trees, thought to be extinct until 1941 are now fairly readily available. However, before you decide to plant one of these in your yard, remember they get really huge and need more space than most of us have in an urban environment. If you do have the space and if you prefer to use native trees, you might think about using our native Bald Cypress, Taxodium distichum, a similar looking deciduous conifer, which also prefers moist soil and gets quite large.

Check these trees out now before they defoliate, and know that you are looking at a living fossil.

Mickey Gazaway, is a Paulding County Master Gardener Extension Volunteer. As representatives of the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Master Gardener Extension Volunteers are trained experts, who answer questions about home horticulture, sustainable landscaping, and environmentally friendly gardening practices using unbiased, research-based information from the University of Georgia. For more information on gardening in Paulding, contact a Master Gardener or the County Extension Agent at the Paulding County Cooperative Extension Office at 770-443-7616 or check us out online at www.ugaextension.org/paulding.

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