Skip to Content

How To Grow and Care for Cedar Tree Like a Pro

These tall evergreen coniferous trees are personally my favorite type of trees.

They may be big, but they are so simple to grow while enhancing the beauty of their surroundings. Not only that, their benefits are endless.

Cedar shrubs are mostly found around homes and buildings rather than gardens. Cedar trees belong to the Pinaceae family and are natives of  the Mediterranean region and western Himalayas.

There are four types/species of Cedar Trees, and each grows in different areas of the world.

These include Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus Libani), Atlas Cedar (Cedrus Atlantica), Deodar Cedar Tree (Cedrus Deodara), and Cyprian Cedar (Cedrus Brevifolia).

The names give away where you’ll find them.

 

How To Grow and Care for Cedar Tree

Cedar Trees can survive in both hot and cold weather in any type of soil, although they prefer acidic and moist soil. As long as they are in nutrient-rich soil, not much fertilizer is needed. They require full sunlight and good watering, although young trees require more water.

How To Grow and Care for Cedar Tree

How To Grow and Care for Cedar Tree

 

 

Cedar Tree Growing Guide

 

Soil

Cedar Trees can grow in any soil. Chalky, sandy, acidic – you name it. But they prefer acidic and moist soil.

Although they do need moist soil, they cannot tolerate soggy soil or any area with a risk of flooding.

Basically, excessively moist soil is a big NO.

The ideal pH range of soil is between 4.7 to 4.8. The soil should preferably be well-drained and remain moist.

Even if they can grow in any soil type, they still dislike dry, sandy soils and too moist clay soils.

 

Light

Cedar Trees should ideally be planted where they’ll be exposed to full sunlight. But it can survive in the partial sun as well.

Cedar trees can survive both under full and partial sunlight, but not to the point that they get scorched

Cedar trees can survive both under full and partial sunlight, but not to the point that they get scorched

Just make sure that those areas don’t have scorching sunlight coming in – especially during the initial stages of their life.

They should ideally receive 6-8 hours of sunlight daily to grow.

 

Watering

When Cedar Trees are young, they require more water. So make sure you water the young plants – especially in their first year – more.

Once they are established, there’s no need to worry about them that much.

But let the tree breathe (I mean dry) between each watering.

Regularly watering the young plant will help it spread its roots. You will watch it grow into its beautiful old self.

But, I should tell you not to overwater them. Remember they don’t like soggy soils?

Ideally, you should water them in the evening to avoid scorching the foliage.

After they have grown up, they can get the water from rain. 

 

Temperature

Since there are varieties of Cedar Trees, you should check the USDA hardiness zone for the particular one.

But most cedar trees thrive in the USDA hardiness zones 5 to 8.

Cedar trees thrive in USDA zones 5-8; they can also grow in areas where winter temperatures don't dip below -13 degrees Fahrenheit

Cedar trees thrive in USDA zones 5-8; they can also grow in areas where winter temperatures don’t dip below -13 degrees Fahrenheit

Cedar Trees are often grown in areas where the temperature in winter does not go below -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 degrees Celsius)

 

Fertilizer

If the Cedar Trees are in good soil, they won’t need any fertilizer as all the nutrients they need are already provided by the soil.

But if you believe that the soil is not ideal, you can use compost to improve the soil.

And if you’re option to feed them with fertilizer, try using the 10-10-10 fertilizer.

Even if they are in good soil, you can start giving them fertilizer after a year. But let them get their nutrients from the soil during the first year of their life.

You can fertilize at the beginning of May, June, and July. But do not fertilize them after August.

Give those beauties fertilizer with high nitrogen!

 

Propagation

Propagating a Cedar Tree is not a piece of cake. Thus, it is mainly done by gardeners.

But you can still try, can’t you?

Sure, you may not be the perfect gardener or even a gardener at all but the more you practice, the better you get.

So how about I tell you how the propagation works, and you give it a shot?

You can propagate them in two ways. One is done by seeds, and the other is done by cutting.

The cutting method works better and gives faster results than the seed method.

Let’s first look at growing by seeds:

  1. To multiply the trees, you need fertilized seeds from cone-like fruits. Make sure that these cones reach at least the age of three. You can harvest these seeds in the fall.
For you to grow cedar trees from seeds, you need to harvest the seeds from their cone-like fruits

For you to grow cedar trees from seeds, you need to harvest the seeds from their cone-like fruits

  1. Put the seeds in moist soil for about three weeks in a process that’s called cold stratification.
  2. Sow the seeds in nursery pots and keep them in a sheltered place. Keep them in a seedling soil mix or you can just mix 2/3 soil and 1/3 sand)
  3. Ensure that the substrate stays a little moist but not WET.
  4. Transplant your plant to a larger pot after growing a bit. Transplant your Cedar tree to the ground later (only in the spring!)

Now, let’s talk about propagating by cutting.

  1. Winter, late fall, and early part of spring are the best times to do the cutting. 
  2. First, fill up your pots with a potting mixture that’s soilless.
  3. With a sharp knife, cut 3-4 6-inch stems from the current year’s cedar branches growth. Cut it at a 45-degree angle as it will allow the tree to absorb some moisture.
  4. Remove the bottom half of each cutting’s leaf with a pinch.
  5. Get wet paper towels to wrap them in and put them in a bowl of ice for an hour. This will keep them moist.
  6. Apply the rooting hormone to the bottom 1/3 of Cedar. Take off the excess hormones and plant the Cedar tree cuttings in the potting mix that’s soilless.
  7. Keep the pots in a plastic bag and place them somewhere warm. Make sure they are moist.
  8. After four weeks, test the cuttings. If you see them resist a light tug, the rooting is done.
  9. You can now transplant it into a larger pot. And later, in the fall, begin transplanting the cuttings directly to the ground!

Tip: Avoid doing it in the afternoon. Instead, do it early in the morning.

Also, ensure that the trees are completely dormant and the sap is flowing slowly.

 

Pruning

Pruning is means the process of cutting the overgrown or dead tree branches. This promotes healthy growth as it gives the other branches a chance to grow.

Pruning is vital for Cedar Trees. It should be done every year between late June to early July, as this is the time they begin growing.

Begin by removing the dead branches. Make sure you don’t cut a growing branch too much – stop at the green line.

Leave around two inches of green growth on each branch to ensure healthy growth.

I suggest cutting it off close to the center of the shrubs if you want to remove the whole branch.

And you can also shape the cedar shrubs according to your will. Let your creative juices flow!

 

Growth

The Cedar tree’s average height is between 60-120 feet.

Native Cedar Trees can grow to be 200 feet. However, the cultivated ones usually grow between 60-80 feet tall with widths of up to 35 feet.

The growth rate of the Cedar Tree will depend on the type that you have planted. The fastest-growing one is the Western Red Cedar, as they grow 24 to 30 inches tall every year.

The fastest growing variety of cedar trees is the Western Red Cedar

The fastest growing variety of cedar trees is the Western Red Cedar

So even if you have two different types of Cedar Trees planted near each other, you can’t expect them to grow at the same rate. One may be shorter than the other.

These splendid trees can live up to 300 years or even longer. They are actually known for how long they can live.

In fact, there are a few Lebanon Cedar Trees that are capable of living up to a thousand years!

Some of Lebanon Cedar trees can live up to a thousand years

Some of Lebanon Cedar trees can live up to a thousand years

 

Common Problems with Cedar Tree

Problems can be a headache.

But the possibility of facing a problem is never zero.

There are common problems you might encounter while growing Cedar Trees. But don’t worry, I will also share the best ways to cure and even prevent them.

 

Aphids

Aphids are tiny bugs that love feeding on your Cedar tree’s sap.

A common sign that your tree is infested with aphids is curling or yellow leaves.

You can remove them by washing them off with your garden hose. If not, you can also put horticultural oil to make them go away.

Predatory wasps can also do the job by feeding on aphids and scales. Release them in your yard and save your tree.

One way to eliminate aphids from your cedar trees is to release predatory wasps

One way to eliminate aphids from your cedar trees is to release predatory wasps

 

Bark Beetles

Bark beetles are small beetles that love digging beneath tree barks. They can be very dangerous.

Bark beetles love to dig under the barks of your cedar trees, making them hard to get rid of

Bark beetles love to dig under the barks of your cedar trees, making them hard to get rid of

If your tree is severely infested with them, it might die. They’re challenging to get rid of as well.

You have to prune the infested branches so that the beetles don’t get to the healthy ones.

 

Canker Disease or Root Rot

Canker disease is caused by bacteria and fungi.

This disease makes the infested branches discolored and decay the areas. It further puts the tree at a risk of more fungi growing.

To avoid this, make sure you water the tree well and prune the dead branches without delay.

And keep the tree fertilized!

 

Cedar Apple Rust

This disease is caused by rust fungus. Although it won’t kill your tree, diseases are never good.

It will turn the leaves brown and eventually fall.

If you find galls or orange jelly-like growth on the branches and twigs, that is a sign of Cedar Apple Rust.

Galls, or orange jelly-like growths on your cedar trees, is a sure sign of Cedar Apple Rust

Galls, or orange jelly-like growths on your cedar trees, is a sure sign of Cedar Apple Rust

Pull the affected areas to get rid of the galls. Don’t forget that you should wear your gloves when removing those galls!

To avoid Cedar Apple Rust from happening again, apply a fungicide.

 

Tips to Keep Cedar Tree Problem-free

It is not too difficult to grow and care for a Cedar Tree. But the workload is not zero.

You need to provide them with proper care – no matter how little it is – to ensure that nothing hinders their growth.

I have collected some tips for you. If you follow them, you will face no problems!

  1. After transplanting them, keep the soil moist in the first few weeks. This encourages the growth of new roots.
  2. Put mulch 2-3 inches around the Cedar tree. This will retain the soil moisture and keep the weeds down.
  3. Ensure that the trees are evenly planted at least 2 feet apart.
  4. Deers love eating Cedar leaves. You can plant garlic, onion, or anything with a strong smell to keep them away. Deers hate strong fragrances!

 

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Grow and Care for Cedar Tree

 

What are False Cedars?

False Cedar is a term used for species that are like, but not true, Cedars. These include Alaskan Yellow Cedar, Bermuda Cedar, Eastern Red Cedar Tree, Incense Cedar, Northern White Cedar, Port Orford Cedar, Siberian Pine, Spanish Cedar, and Western Red Cedar.

 

How do I care for my Cedar Tree in winter?

Cedar Tree can tolerate cold weather. But you can still help them by putting a cover on them as protection from melting salts.

 

What are some companion plants for Cedar Tree?

Some companion plants include creeping wintergreen, bugleweed, ice plant, periwinkle, and Chinese lantern plants. These are a few companion plants that can benefit from growing under a Cedar Tree.

 

Do Cedar Trees attract mosquitoes?

That is a common misconception as they grow in wet areas. But they do not attract mosquitoes; in fact, Cedar is used to repelling them. But like any other tree, you may see some bugs or squirrels coming near it.

 

Conclusion

Cedar Trees can be a great addition to the landscape. Attractive, excellent windbreaks, and fast-growing? Sign me up!

If you follow the instructions given in this guide correctly, we can guarantee you will see a healthy, beautiful Cedar Tree in front of you.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli

Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.