Most cedars require very little maintenance, making them much appreciated additions to gardens and landscapes. Eastern red cedars, western red cedars, atlas cedar and deodar cedars all fit this bill. A few basic maintenance tricks should keep most cedars looking natural while adding beautiful texture and form to almost any garden for years to come.
Planting New Trees
One way to keep maintenance to a minimum once cedars are well-established is to plant the tree correctly in the first place. Cedar trees thrive in organic soil, so adding back fill containing compost and other organic matter helps create a better drainage system for the roots. Making sure the tree has plenty of room to grow is also important--some cedars grow up to 100 feet in width.
Newly planted trees require thorough watering as long as the temperature is above freezing. This helps fill in the spaces in the soil and gives the tree a good start in its new home. During hot weather or periods of drought, new trees require more watering. One way to find out if the tree needs more water is to use a few fingers to feel down into the soil near the root ball. If the soil feels dry, it's time to water. The tree has been adequately watered once the soil feels moist for a few inches. Once the tree is well-established, little watering is required for most cedars.
Some cedar trees, such as excelsa and virescens cedars, need the small dead branches and other material inside the branches removed. The material may be sprayed out with a hose or removed by hand. Some interior branches also die back, especially in new trees; while this is normal in cedars, the branches and debris may be removed to make the tree look better.
Most cedars require little or no pruning to maintain a healthy tree. For gardeners who prefer to keep the tree to a certain size due to space restrictions, cedars may be pruned at almost any time of year.
Most cedars feature bark that helps repel insects, although bagworms may attack trees, especially eastern red cedars. Handpicking the worms off of the tree may be effective. Spray may also be used once the bagworms hatch and leave the mother's well-protected bag--this typically occurs in mid to late June, so it is best to spray at that time.
Gardeners who rely on an irrigation system to water their trees should check the sprayers' nozzles to remove grass or other clogging materials. Sometimes animals move the hoses, so gardeners should also check the positioning to make sure it's doing the job adequately.