Plant of the Week - August 30, 2012 Cedar/Arborvitae


Privacy by planting.  Cedars make a great plant if you want to block the neighbors away very quickly.  This  dense, rich evergreen can be used in numerous applications.  From boarders and hedges to providing dimension and height variances to topiary applications, cedars are a definite staple for every landscape.  

Fall is the time of year where a lot of trees undergo a transformation and evergreens start to shed needles from the prior year’s growth.  It’s nothing unusual; it’s just fall needle loss.  A layer of needles will form under the tree to help protect and smother out competition.  This is a normal process that cedars do, dramatically in some cases, especially after a transplant.  It is nothing to worry about because it is a natural process that these trees need to undergo.   You can get significant amount of yellowing in the interior of the trees.  This foliage will fall around the base of the tree to become mulch for the tree for the next year.  Normally an evergreen can loose up to one third of its foliage per year.   Some times you are tempted to remove this fallen foliage when doing your seasonal yard clean up but it is best to leave this until spring.  You want to provide the soil and root systems as much protection as possible from fully experiencing the harsh conditions of a Canadian Winter.  Bylands varieties are very cold hardy but it is always wise to leave fallen foliage until spring.

When you prune your younger cedars you want to encourage growth from one stem, your main leader right out of the middle. You will want to take out some of the outer stems and tips.  When approaching the top of your cedar just make sure one stem remains, your leader.  This will encourage your cedars to fatten up and look fuller.  Pruning out the tips and branches that have reached out more than the others also prevents wet heavy snow from pulling apart the branches and damaging your tree.

Bylands cedars are all container grown which means our cedars have healthy root systems and are more tolerant of dryer conditions as well. One the main reasons why cedars die after you buy them is because they have been incredibly stressed out from being dug out of the field they were grown in and either sold in burlap or transferred into a container/pot for sale.  This results in little to no root development and will require much more water to help the cedar take in their new home. 

Here are some of favorite cedars that we think everyone will like for many reasons.

Emerald Cedar/Arborvitae
This variety is the most popular, and considered a staple.  Emerald is tight and compact cedar can get about 15’-20 feet tall depending on your environmental circumstances.  Narrow uniform pyramidal shape with attractive bright green foliage year round. Popular hedge or screen. Also attractive as a vertical accent for the border or foundation. Commonly used to create topiary shapes, even centrepieces for colour Container.  Keep moist in sunny locations.

Skybound Cedar/Arborvitae
This variety is not wellknown.  Similar shape to Brandon Pyramidal Cedar but with new improved hardiness and richer, dark green foliage. Great formal look. An excellent choice for a hedge or as a foundation or border plant.   Keep moist in sunny locations.

Brandon Pyramidal Cedar/Arborvitae
Also considered a staple, this is a hardy selection of Pyramidal Thuja that is a fast growing evergreen with bright green foliage. Dense columnar shape makes excellent screen, accent plant, in foundation or border plantings. Shear to keep a more compact, full appearance.  Keep moist in sunny locations.

Holmstrup Cedar/Arborvitae
Compact narrow pyramidal shape with airy green foliage in summer turning slightly bronze in fall. Slightly broader at base of plant. Good hardiness. Good small accent or hedge. Prune for an interesting formal appearance. Keep moist in sunny locations.

Techny Cedar/Arborvitae
Fast growing broadly based pyramidal shape with dark green foliage year round. Excellent for screens or borders. Easily shaped by shearing into formal shapes such as globes. Very durable, one of the hardiest Thuja. Keep moist in sunny locations.

Globe Cedar/Arborvitae
Large fast growing globe shaped evergreen with dark green foliage all year. Popularly used as a hedge or border accent plant. Contrasts well with many textures. Keep sheared to control size and desired fullness. Keep moist in sunny locations.

DeGroot's Spire Cedar/Arborvitae
Slow growing narrow upright form of Thuja. Twisted scale-like dark green foliage holds its colour well in the winter. Fine specimen or accent for landscapes that require a softening of strong vertical lines of tall buildings. Keep moist in sunny locations.

Little Giant Cedar/Arborvitae
Green Giant is a very dependable plant.  Although they like full sun but they can tolerate the shade fairly well but the more sun they get the better they grow. Slow growing, compact, globe shaped evergreen. Soft feathery bright green foliage all year. Gives a nice formal look. Very versatile in the landscape. Great for a small hedge, as a foundation or border accent. Keep moist in sunny locations.