Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'WAH-08AG' (PP# 29,472)

Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'WAH-08AG' (PP# 29,472)

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How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood is a beautiful deciduous conifer that will quickly become an amazing specimen in your garden. It forms an upright specimen with a central trunk, and the needles are golden yellow in spring and through summer. In fall they turn beautiful shades of amber orange. This tree grows vigorously, reaching 20 feet within a decade, forming a slender pyramid, growing to 35 feet or more in a relatively short time. It can be pruned too, to keep it smaller if needed. Plant it on a large lawn, in the corner of your yard, along a boundary or edging water.

  • Graceful and strong-growing pyramidal specimen tree
  • New spring growth is golden yellow, holding through summer
  • Needles turn amber-orange in fall
  • Vigorous tree that will soon become a garden highlight
  • Grows well in wet soil

Full sun will bring out the best colors in the Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood, and those golds won’t scorch in the summer sun. It grows in ordinary to wet soils, preferring richer, moist soils for the best growth. Avoid summer dryness. It doesn’t have problems with pests or diseases, and it’s normally ignored by deer. Prune in early spring to maintain a narrow form as needed.

Plant Hardiness Zones 5-9
Mature Width 10-15
Mature Height 30-35
Sun Needs Full Sun, Partial Sun
Zones 5-9

The Dawn Redwood was once thought to have been extinct for 20 million years. That was before Chinese botanists re-discovered it, and the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University brought it to America. That was in 1947, and this rediscovery caused a media sensation, making this one of the most famous trees around. 70 years later it doesn’t cause Twitter Storms anymore, but it remains one of the most beautiful conifers you can grow, and one of the very few that is deciduous. There have been very few varieties developed of this plant, but the Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood is certainly one of the very best. It has splendid glowing golden foliage in spring, holding well through summer, and then in fall it turns delicious shades of soft oranges, giving out a wonderful amber glow. This is not some slow-growing, fussy plant, but a vigorous tree that will likely be 20 feet tall within a decade, and continue to grow taller. It has a beautiful conical form and it is one the very best specimen evergreens you can grow – and a living piece of the history of our amazing planet.

Growing the Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood

Size and Appearance

The Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood is a pyramidal tree with a strong central stem supporting tiers of near-horizontal side branches. It forms a striking pyramid, with branches to the ground for many, many years. It is moderately-fast growing, adding as much as 2 feet in new growth in a season. Within 5 years it will be well over 10 feet tall, and reach about 20 feet within a decade, with a 10-foot spread at the base. Growth continues, slowing a little, so expect a tree approaching 50 feet in the not-too-distant future. Trees of this species can reach 100 feet in time, so choose a suitable planting spot. As the trunk develops the base becomes flaring, with strong buttresses that ensure its stability. The bark is reddish brown, with long vertical ridges and grooves.

The side-branches carry the needles on side-shoots about 2½ inches long, with a flat, double row of flat needles along them, each about ½ inch long. This is a deciduous tree, and in fall the complete side-shoot, with its needles, falls, to be replaced the next year with new side shoots on the branches that grew the previous year. The new needles in spring are a wonderful glowing butter-yellow, strongest on the most exterior needles. Deeper inside the tree the needles are more green, and that gives an incredible depth to the golden coloring of this tree. The yellow color holds well throughout summer, turning a little more chartreuse, and the needles don’t scorch in the hot sun. In fall they turn a wonderful soft orange – the amber glow of the tree’s name -and a great description of it.

Using the Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood in Your Garden

This tree is a superb specimen on a large lawn, or planted in the corner of your property. Allow enough room for its future spread, which could one day be 30 feet, so plant at least 15 feet from a building, fence, property line or other large trees. Don’t plant beneath overhead lines or in areas where future construction could take place. This really is a tree that one day will be a heritage specimen, so give it the spot it deserves – it’s worth it.


The Amber Glow Dawn Redwood grows best in zones 6, 7 and 8. In zone 5 it should have shelter from large trees to the north, and it will grow well in zone 9 in the northwest.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

Unlike some other golden dawn redwoods, the gold leaves of this tree are not scorched in the sun – in fact the best coloring in spring and fall is in trees exposed to full sun. It will grow well in a little partial shade, but the leaves will be more chartreuse for most of the year. The ideal soil is rich and moist, and this tree will grow in areas that are often wet. It will also grow perfectly in regular garden soils, but not so well in dry, very sandy areas and in limestone soils.

Maintenance and Pruning

Protect from drought during the summer and give some deep soaks occasionally through hot weather. Watch for the development of two leading stems – remove one if you see this happening. You can trim back side-branches in spring, even to bare wood – which will re-sprout well. This way you can keep a very narrow profile, and fit the tree into a smaller space.

History and Origin of the Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood

The dawn redwood, Metasequoia glyptostroboides, was discovered in China in the 1940s – before that it was only known from fossils, and thought to have become extinct about 20 million years ago. This tree is a relative of the two American redwoods, the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum).

In the 1970s in experiments using x-rays on tree seeds, the New Oji Paper Company in Japan created a golden seedling of the dawn redwood. It was named ‘Ogon’, Japanese for ‘gold bullion’. It is often sold as the Gold Rush dawn redwood. Its golden leaves are prone to scorching in full sun, making it a tricky tree to grow. Bill Head owns the Head-Lee Nursery in Seneca, South Carolina. Early this century he found a rare thing – cones full of seeds on a plant of ‘Ogon’. It seemed that the pollen had come from a nearby tree called ‘Sheridan Spire’, a vigorous variety with a narrow profile and bright-green leaves. When he grew the seeds and studied the seedlings one stood out, which he chose in 2008 for further testing. It had sun-resistant gold needles and fabulous fall colors of amber oranges. He named it ‘WAH-08AG’, and received a patent in 2018. This tree has been released to gardeners with the trademark name of Amber Glow™ by Star® Roses and Plants.

Buying the Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood at The Tree Center

You will never regret your decision to plant the Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood in your garden, because this ‘living fossil’ is so beautiful, and such a quality tree to be growing as a specimen. These trees have only recently become available, and they are in very short supply, so order now – we have many collectors among our clients, and this is one tree that won’t be around the farm for long.

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Amber Glow™ Dawn Redwood

Metasequoia glyptostroboides 'WAH-08AG' (PP# 29,472)