How To Maintain Cedar

The cedar tree is one of the most magnificent of trees; cedars can grow to a height of 200 feet with a spread of 150 feet. All evergreen trees are not cedars; we often confuse them with junipers and arborvitaes. True cedars are the: Atlas Cedar,  Deodar Cedar, and Cedar-of-Lebanon, this is determined by their scientific name which begins with the term Cedrus. The Red Cedar is a species of the Juniperus, while the White Cedar is of the Thuja species. The common field cedars grow best on soil that is less than ideal for other trees, they like the good drainage of the limestone base and full sun of the Midwest and upper Southern regions of the United States. These slow growing trees will invade and take over farm and ranch land, requiring the land owner to have them removed.  They make excellent wind breaks and hedges to mark property lines, or edgings around gardens. Cedar is a multi-purpose wood, it is used as fence lumber and posts as it doesn't have to be treated. Other uses include exterior trim, planking for boats, shingles, and crossties.

Step 1

Transplanting cedars is not the easiest thing to do.

  • Work the soil deeply, the soil should be acidic for the best results
  • Transplant in the early spring, plantings should be healthy and one to two feet tall
  • An area with direct sunlight is best for planting cedars
  • Requires well drained soil, but most cedars can withstand some drought

Step 2

The care of most cedars is very similar; Listed below are the likes and dislikes of the three most common species.

Atlas Cedar:

  • Height is around 40-60 feet, spread is 30-40 feet
  • Irregular wide pyramid shape, silvery-blue three quarter to one inch needles.
  • Plant in zones 6-10 in full to partial shade, the Atlas Cedar is slow to moderate growing, it can tolerate drought, but prefers moist well drained soil, can tolerate wind and heat if planted in deep soil.
  • Cold can be a problem, weevils, sapsuckers, borers, and root rot are some of its common pest problems.

Deodar Cedar:

  • Height is 40-70 feet spread is 20-45 feet
  • Dense, graceful, and soft textured pyramidal shape, with tiered branches
  • The needles measure one and a half to two inches long, the longest of all cedars
  • It is also the fastest growing of the cedars
  • Plant in zones 7-10 in full sun, in well drained alkaline soil
  • The Deodar Cedar can withstand drought, heat and wind
  • Best located on large properties, it can be affected by cold as well as canker and weevils


  • Height is 40-70 feet, spread is 20-30 feet
  • Irregular pyramid shape, open and irregular canopy, slow growing
  • Plant in zones 6-10, in full sun
  • The Cedar-of-Lebanon likes well drained fertile soil, but can survive in dry, alkaline, less fertile soils
  • It can tolerate drought, however it is intolerant of humidity
  • Of the three types of cedar, this type tolerates the cold best and has no major pest problems

The slow growing cedar is not the choice for quick shade. Planting cedars is a long term project, however if you have time and patience they are well worth the wait.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: