A coast redwood ‘floating’ in midair

Stunning regrowth on a downed tree near Mt. Tam shows the amazing resilience of redwoods

It’s not every day that you see a redwood growing in mid-air, but that’s exactly what’s happening over this stream alongside the Cataract Trail in Mt. Tamalpais State Park, just above Alpine Lake. It’s a testament to the fact that redwoods just don’t quit.
floating redwood mt Tam reverse
This reverse angle shows the tree literally growing right above the stream.

How can a tree float above a river like this?

While it’s very common for redwoods to fall over and then resprout along their stem like this, this is a particularly wild instance. Usually, the trees fall on the forest floor, get buried under forest debris, break down, and rot away. Redwoods sprout from dormant buds. Often these buds are concentrated and sprout near the base of the tree. These dormant buds can exist however throughout the stem and branches of the tree. If the tree experiences stress such as a broken top or being uprooted in a storm, these dormant buds can be activated to sprout resulting in the “new leaders” or stems like we’re seeing here.
floating redwood mt. tam
Another angle of the “floating” redwood.

About the author

Garrison Frost joined Save the Redwoods League in 2019 as its Director of Communications.

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