Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)

Redwood is a domestic softwood


Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) grows on the coast of California and some trees are among the tallest in the world. A closely related species, giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), is volumetrically larger and grows in a limited area in the Sierra Nevadas of California, but its wood is used in very limited quantities. Other names for redwood are coast redwood, California redwood, and sequoia. Production of redwood lumber is limited to California, but the market is nationwide.


The heartwood of redwood varies from light “cherry” red to dark mahogany. The narrow sapwood is almost white. Typical old-growth redwood is moderately lightweight, moderately strong and stiff, and moderately hard. The wood is easy to work, generally straight grained, and shrinks and swells comparatively little. The heartwood from old-growth trees has high decay resistance; heartwood from second-growth trees generally has low to moderate decay resistance.

Primary Uses

Most redwood lumber is used for building. It is remanufactured extensively into siding, sashes, doors, blinds, millwork, casket stock, and containers. Because of its durability, redwood is useful for cooling towers, decking, tanks, silos, wood-stave pipe, and outdoor furniture. It is used in agriculture for buildings and equipment. Its use as timbers and large dimension in bridges and trestles is relatively minor. Redwood splits readily and plays an important role in the manufacture of split products, such as posts and fence material. Some redwood veneer is produced for decorative plywood.

*Much of the base wood information presented here is made available by the USDA FPL FS. If you are interested in a much more technical description of wood properties, I encourage you to visit the source.