Planting 23,000 redwood trees

The League and partners planted thousands of coast redwood and Douglas-fir seedlings in San Vicente Redwoods

Last week Save the Redwoods League teamed up with our partners Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), Sempervirens Fund, and the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County to plant 23,000 redwood and 190 Douglas fir seedlings across 4,000 acres of 8,532-acre San Vicente Redwoods. This work is helping to restore areas where trees were lost in the CZU Lightning Complex fire, as well as connect isolate redwood groves that have been fragmented by past logging. This will contribute to restoring the natural fire resilience and old-growth characteristics of the forest.

A woman wearing a hard hat and a pack of tree seedlings
Photo: Stanley Shaw

A few League staffers got in on the action, carrying 10-pound planting bars and hundreds of seedlings on our bodies, bushwhacking up, down, and across steep hillsides in search of spots where the seedlings would have space to thrive and eventually bolster other nearby trees. Among burned coast redwoods, Douglas-firs, and tanoaks, redwoods were already resprouting on their own. While redwoods are resilient in that way, we needed to give the forest a helping hand because of the way past logging has altered its natural condition.

To plant each seedling—which were propagated by CAL FIRE—we cleared away the aromatic moss and duff and wedged the planting bar into the soft soil. Our land stewardship manager Anthony Castaños advised us not to be shy about ruffling the seedlings’ roots (the stress would signal them to expand into the earth) or tamping the roots tightly into the ground to avoid air pockets in the dirt. Once it was in the ground, we gently patted the top of each little seedling for good luck and good measure.

A woman wearing a hard hat plants a coast redwood seedling
Photo: Stanley Shaw

In the moment, getting covered with dirt and blisters and trying to avoid tumbling into the creek, we were all about the mission of planting these trees. It was, at times, meditative. The sounds of the creek and cracking twigs underfoot would occasionally trigger an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) that would dull the aches acquired throughout the day. The good feeling of putting life in the ground helped, too.

About the author

Dana Poblete joined Save the Redwoods League in 2019 as Writer/Storyteller and Editor. In addition to amplifying people’s stories in nature, she loves building community in the outdoors.


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2 Responses to “Planting 23,000 redwood trees”

  1. grace m hoagland

    Whew. Bless you all and thanks for making my day! Fantastic!

  2. daniela siegenthaler

    thank you, dear ones.


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