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Cedar Trees

Q.Help With Cedars Thinning

Zone Saskatoon | Paul4444 added on April 22, 2020 | Answered

Hi I am having problems with my cedars thinning. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada where we have long cold winters and spring is only just starting now. I have no idea how old they cedars are but they were large when we bought the house 6 years ago. They act as a privacy screen so I really want to get them healthy again.  It all started last year, when they had dropped a lot of needles at the end of winter beginning of spring. At the beginning of spring our arborist said to feed them now and water regularly, which I did all year but they don’t seem to have improved. The cedar on the right in the first picture is the worst, with the other 10 looking like the one on the left. The one on the right is a different cedar to the others, a white cedar I think, that they must have put in by mistake years ago. It does seem to be putting some growth on in the bare patch from the trunk.  I bought a sprinkler hose which I put under the cedars and turned on every 2 days for an hour, 24 hours later the ground feels wet as far as I can put my fingers in. The hose is a sprinkler on the top and soaker underneath. I have this running directly under the cedars, should it be more at the edge on the drip line?. Do you think this is sufficient water?  There is now a lot of dead leaf matter on the ground, should I remove it (I did last year)?. I’ve read I could mulch but I’m not sure what with, is it worth top dressing with compost?  I’ve also read I could sheer to encourage bushing but some people say spring, some say early summer and some say both. What is the best way, how much and when?  I really want to do whatever I can to save these guys and would really appreciate any help.  Thanks in advance  Paul

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on April 22, 2020

This sounds like it could be a bit too much water! The soil needs time to dry out thoroughly down to about 3 or 4 inches in between waterings, but they can handle much drier conditions than that. Watering on a schedule will not work very well unless that schedule changes with the weather and seasons, so watering once the soil is dry down to an acceptable level is going to be a much more accurate way to water.

Overwatering suffocates the roots and can cause infections over time.

I would treat the soil with wettable sulfur to, both, acidify the soil and to kill off any infections forming.

Here are some articles to help you with cedar care:


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