Cedar trees are popular choices for landscapes due to their attractiveness, variety of growth habits and ability to stay green year round. They’re also hardy and sturdy trees that stand up to storms and high winds. However, cedars require care that differs considerably from that needed by normal deciduous trees. Here’s how to maintain and care for your cedar tree.
Protect from Pests
Not many things will attack a cedar tree, but the young saplings are vulnerable to a few persistent pests. Deer favor the tender green foliage during the winter, but won’t usually bother them other times of the year. Using deer deterrents can help keep them away. Rabbits particularly enjoy eating the leaves and chewing on the trunk and twigs of young cedars. Surrounding the base of the tree with chicken wire will prevent access to vulnerable parts. Bagworms also present a threat to cedars. These moth caterpillars eat the leaves as well as utilize them for camouflage. Besides spraying the tree, the next best defense is hand-plucking. Numerous fungi, like cedar apple rust, are also problematic, but these can be solved with fungicides.
For all of their durability, cedars do not tolerate extended droughts well, particularly when they’re still young. If the weather has been very hot and rainfall isn’t forthcoming, you will need to supplement your tree’s water needs. If you’re watering the old-fashioned way, water around the base of the tree for at least 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re using a soaker hose on a timer, let it run for an hour each day. To improve soil moisture, protect developing roots and control weeds, add a thick layer of mulch around the tree’s base. This should be three to four inches deep and extend two feet out from the tree.
Weeding is also very important for cedars, especially small ones. Aggressive-growing local weeds can quickly overtake a small cedar, robbing it of nutrients. This can stunt its growth and eventually kill it. It’s recommended that you pull all weeds by hand to avoid disturbing any tree roots near the soil surface.