Redwoods - growing around them? needles as mulch?

I am lucky enough to have redwood trees growing along the south side of my property.

They are handsome, but they do block the sun from the south and take up a lot of valuable real estate.

Anyway, I have two questions related to redwood trees -

  1. have you been successful growing any edibles underneath or nearby redwoods (or non-edibles for that matter)?
  2. is it okay to use the redwood needles as mulch or added to my compost pile?


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I frequently use pine needles. They work excellent for keeping weeds down.


Its amazing you got those dinosaurs in your property!

Redwoods are not allelopathic and actually help promote good soil biology.

Redwood needles make an excellent mulch and you can add to compost once its been aged for a while but is best used as a mulch since it resists decay and supposedly do really good things to the soils around them for most plants.


So I once heard that redwood needles contain a chemical that acts as a growth retardant which prevents other plants from growing around the tree -I wonder if that’s truth or fiction?

Can you do raised beds with a landscape fabric blocking root incursion? The trees might be allelopathic as you point out.

I’m surrounded by redwoods on all sides. I have several apple and pear trees that are adjacent to a couple of trees with ample needle cast to add at least a redwood complement to the mulch. No issues as far as I can tell. The neighbors are a little more buried in the trees than I and always turn out good fruit. Shade is the big issue here, so trees need to be oriented for best sun. I am fortunate to have a nice south aspect with the redwoods to the south only shading things in the winter when things are dormant anyhow.

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yes, great idea! I could build a raised bed

@SamF That’s good to know. How much sun do your apple and pear trees have in summer? I am going pay count the hours of sun in that area.

I honestly don’t know total hours. Most of them are set back from the larger redwoods and get the better part of a full day. I do have one older established jonagold that sits right next to a 70’ redwood and trees to the west and maybe manages a half day sun but still cranks out quality apples. It would not be my preferred location to plant, but was here when I moved in and seems to work.

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