A Michigan nurseryman and his team of tree climbers and horticulturists have cloned the world’s biggest redwoods and giant sequoias, bringing some of them back from stumps cut more than 100 years ago.
With the winter rains has come the time to plant. Two hundred and fifty clones carrying an exact genetic copy from 18 different trees — many of them bigger when they lived than anything left standing today — will start going into the ground Tuesday at a ranch on the southern Oregon Coast.
David Milarch, co-founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive and the Champion Tree Project, hopes the small plantation south of Port Orford, Ore., will give the ancient giants a leg up on moving north to cooler climes as the climate changes and be the start of a campaign to plant some of the world’s fastest-growing trees all around the globe.
“I think we are entering into a time where the largest, oldest living beings on this earth need our help,” said Milarch, 63, of Copemish, Mich.
Only about 5 percent of the ancient redwoods are left standing, and among the sources of the clones is one that fell some 120 years ago — the Fieldbrook Stump near McKinleyville, Calif. Sprouts still come out of the stump, 331/2 feet in diameter without the bark. One of those sprouts provided cuttings for the project.