The evergreen Cryptomeria japonica is also known simply as the Japanese cedar. The tree grows 180 feet in height in its native home of Japan, but normally stays less then 60 feet when grown as an ornamental yard tree. Bark is a deep red in color and peels from the tree in long strips.The blue-green foliage sports deep bronze shades each fall. Both male and female, the tree is capable of self-pollinating. Currently, there are more than 200 cultivars available, according to Floridata.
Light and Soil Requirements
The Cryptomeria japonica grows well in full sunlight or partial shade. When grown in warm regions, the tree enjoys having afternoon shade from the excessive heat. The tree prefers acidic soil conditions that are mildly moist and well-draining. It will not tolerate ongoing wet roots, so avoid planting anywhere that standing water might accumulate. The tree will grow in compacted clay soil, but it prefers rich soil with a high organic content.
In its wild habitat, the Cryptomeria japonica enjoys a heavy annual rainfall where it grows on mountain slopes in large groups. The tree requires ongoing moist soil to maintain growth. Once established, it will tolerate brief periods of drought, but growth will be severely stunted during such years. With ample water, the Cryptomeria japonica will grow 25 feet in height by 10 years of age. The tree also enjoys higher humidity. If the heat is extreme during the summer and the humidity level is low, then it is advised that the tree be misted daily using a garden hose to keep the delicate needles from drying out. But only do this in the mid-afternoon, because ongoing wet needles will cause the tree to suffer from fungal infections.
Annual fungicide treatment is often required to control leaf blight and leaf spot. When afflicted, the interior of the tree will begin to dry out and turn brown. Remove all branches that are completely brown and discard. Fungicides with a sulphur or copper base are ideal for preventing and treating fungal diseases on the Cryptomeria japonica. Spray the tree with the fungicide each spring to help prevent fungal infections. Follow the directions on the label for application instructions.