Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Maintain Cryptomeria Trees

By Eulalia Palomo
Cryptomeria trees have delicate green needles.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Cryptomeria japonica trees are tall evergreen conifers that grow up to 60 feet tall with a narrow spread of 20 to 30 feet. A fast-growing and easily maintained conifer, cryptomeria japonica is ideal planted as a specimen tree in the landscape or used to create a tall wind break or visual screen. Maintaining cryptomeria trees requires minimal maintenance, but as with all landscape trees, a little attention a few times a year will result in a healthy, attractive landscape tree.

Spread a 4-inch layer of wood chips, bark or seasoned manure on the soil in a circular area that extends out 2 feet past the outer tips of the branches. Keep the mulch layer 6 inches away from the trunk of the tree.

Reapply the mulch layer under the cryptomeria trees once a year in the spring after the ground thaws. Add enough mulch each year to bring the total mulch layer up to 4 inches.

Water newly planted trees once a week for the first three months with 1 inch of water at each application.

Water established cryptomeria trees when the top 3 to 4 inches of the soil is dry. Dig down 4 inches with a small trowel at the base of the tree to check the moisture levels in the soil. Apply 1 inch of water on a slow soaker setting at each watering.

Fertilize only if the limbs are sparse and the needles are brown or thin looking. Fertilize cryptomeria trees in the spring using a 10-8-6 fertilizer and apply it on top of the mulch layer. Check the fertilizer package to establish the right amount to use.

Soak the mulch layer thoroughly after fertilizing so that it will leach into the ground and penetrate the soil around the cryptomeria roots.

Prune branches that are broken or damaged any time of year. Remove the branches close to the trunk of the tree. Avoid additional pruning to allow cryptomeria japonica to grow into its natural tidy cone shape.


Things You Will Need

  • Mulch
  • Trowel
  • Fertilizer
  • Pruning shears
  • Tree saw


  • Cryptomeria trees grow well in full sun, partial shade or full shade and deep, nutritious soil with good drainage. Rocky or poor soil is acceptable as long as there is good drainage.

About the Author


Eulalia Palomo has been a professional writer since 2009. Prior to taking up writing full time she has worked as a landscape artist and organic gardener. Palomo holds a Bachelor of Arts in liberal studies from Boston University. She travels widely and has spent over six years living abroad.