Alaskan weeping cedar

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by bwsenft, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. bwsenft

    bwsenft Member

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    During Novemeber and December of 06 4 or my 5 weeping cedars were pushed over to a 60 degree angle. I staked them initially however the wind changed direction and pushed them in another direction about the same amount. Consequently I have staked and roped them so no further damage will occur. This is unsightly to say the least.

    The previous owner had planted them in clay based soil on the front yard and now that they are 18-20 ft high they are suceptible to high winds. From reading other articles these trees can grow to 40 or more ft but since mine now show signs of root damage and having a shallow root system, it seems, would it be wrong to top them so they are less vunerable to blow-down?
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Probably originally planted as pot-bound plants with coiled roots at the base of the pot, a sure recipe for the trees falling over later in life. Unfortunataly, there's no real cure for this, they won't ever get a good hold on the soil. I'd be inclined to remove them outright and replace with something new, taking care to spread the roots properly on planting.

    PS it's a cypress, not a cedar.
     
  3. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Topping not a good idea, don't do that. Do look at roots and soil to see if you can discover why they are blowing over. Alaska cedar native to windy mountainsides (you can actually just make out some big ones north of Vancouver from down near the water), toppling not normally a problem. Some wild specimens have stood for centuries without falling.
     
  4. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Seems they need very good drainage to have a good root system here.
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Very common ornamental here, apparent source of tractability of Leyland cypress (other parent Monterery cypress very limited in adaptation). Planted on diverse sites and not showing any regular problems. Even makes large conspicuous specimens at isolated (and exposed) farmhouses in arid climate of eastern WA (also sporadically native east of Cascades).
     
  6. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Think the tree in question is "Chamaecyparis nootkatensis" -commonly referred to as Yellow cedar. Grow at higher elevations, for conifers, on slopes in the wild near here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2007
  7. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Looks to me like we all know that.
     
  8. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Well, we're all learning. Geez, now i'm a "Generous Contributor", little do they know how many plants i've killed.
     
  9. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    If you have space and could move them to higher ground, where they are not in clay hardpan, you may be able to save them, if they could establish a proper root system. Don't know how high the water table is in your area, but know it's quite high in some areas of Chilliwack and Yarrow. Makes it difficult to grow firs and some other trees to a mature size as they can't grow a decent root system. Was very unusual to see so many firs uprooted in December with the strong winds, but many were on clay hardpan and couldn't get their taproots down and all the rain had saturated the ground.
     
  10. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    In addition to firm staking, you might also try spacing some heavy concrete pavers {those ones about 12'' x 18" x 2''} or something similar on top of the roots. Could try stapling a few of the main roots into the ground, but careful not to damage the roots' bark, a piece of rubber hose or similar over the staples bend, cushioning it from the root. Mark exactly where the staples are placed above ground and consider how they will be removed when necessary. Then you could feed the roots for a few years till they are established and keep any nitrogen fertilizers away so as not to encourage top growth. Unsightly as you say, but they sound like they could be nice trees. Not so sure topping them is a bad idea, considering their habit, as a last resort. The lateral growth would likely need pruning at times then, too, as they would be forced to grow out. Sounds risky, but maybe not. Haven't seen or heard of anybody doing it, nor any experience. If you do decide to give up on them , i might be interested in trying them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2007
  11. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    "In addition to firm staking "

    firm staking is not a good idea, staking with some room for movement is best as the tree will respond to trunk movement by increasing the diameter of the trunk at the flex point.

    "you might also try spacing some heavy concrete pavers {those ones about 12'' x 18" x 2''} or something similar on top of the roots."

    concrete pavers will be unlikely to stop the tree from toppling in a wind event. at best they might weigh 20 or 30 pound, how much force does a 15 foot tree canopy in a 50 kph wind exert. (FWIW I dont know of any resource that will answer that but I am SURE it is more than enough to move a 30 pound stone)

    "Could try stapling a few of the main roots into the ground, but careful not to damage the roots' bark, a piece of rubber hose or similar over the staples bend, cushioning it from the root."

    Roots dont have bark. rubber hose is not a protection for trees from metal wires or staples.

    "Mark exactly where the staples are placed above ground and consider how they will be removed when necessary. "

    staples pull out REALLY easy. especially when they are not bent like a stapler for your offie papers.

    "Then you could feed the roots for a few years till they are established and keep any nitrogen fertilizers away so as not to encourage top growth. "

    you cannot 'feed' a plant, you can provide potentially limited available minerals so the tree can photosynthesize and manufacture its 'food'.

    "Unsightly as you say, but they sound like they could be nice trees. Not so sure topping them is a bad idea, considering their habit, as a last resort. "

    topping a weeping alaska cedar is going to make it quite ugly. I wouldnt consider it as an option.

    "The lateral growth would likely need pruning at times then, too, as they would be forced to grow out. Sounds risky, but maybe not. Haven't seen or heard of anybody doing it, nor any experience. If you do decide to give up on them , i might be interested in trying them."

    that said, if you have a very shallow soil over clay, dont plant a tree that has a large canopy to catch wind, especially an evergreen one as the wind events we get (including Chilliwack) are usually in late fall through early spring, a deciduous tree would have less issue at those times.

    In regards to a previous post;
    "Was very unusual to see so many firs uprooted in December with the strong winds, but many were on clay hardpan and couldn't get their taproots down and all the rain had saturated the ground"

    if a tree is predisposed to grow a tap root (which most arent) then it would be a genetic trait. site conditions such as clay vs gravel soil would make no difference. Soil drainage patterns WILL make a difference in root development and root depth however.

    not trying to pick a fight here but I see a bunch of information I disagree with.

    and an adage I was told years ago in school regarding trees that have been supported;
    " once a prop, always a prop"
     
  12. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    jimmyq - How would you suggest bwsenft save the trees ?
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Though now classified as Cupressus nootkatensis or Callitropsis nootkatensis (syn. Xanthocyparis nootkatensis); it is not closely related to the other cypresses in the genus Chamaecyparis (Lawson's Cypress Ch. lawsoniana, etc.).

    Maybe commonly, but wrongly; it is not in the genus Cedrus (family Pinaceae) so is not a cedar. High time that botanical education was improved!
     
  14. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Maybe commonly, but wrongly; it is not in the genus Cedrus (family Pinaceae) so is not a cedar. High time that botanical education was improved![/QUOTE]

    True, but very few people in British Columbia would know the Latin name or the pronunciation, whereas most would know the common name and many the smell of the wood. Same goes for what are commonly referred to as Red Cedars and the Douglas firs here, they are not true cedars, nor firs. Works here to know both. Thanks for the update on the name change.
     
  15. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    All the more need to avoid calling a cypress a cedar, when it isn't one!
     
  16. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    I wonder which one of the 3 latin names should be used?
     
  17. jimmyq

    jimmyq Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    tough to say without a visual impression of exactly what the situation is but, my gut feel would be to stand them up as upright as possible, stake them with nice wide strapping material, leave a bit of room for the stems to wobble (maybe 1/2" of play) and see what happens. if they continue to fail or show signs of inablity to stand up, remove and replace with something that can withstand the site conditions.

    and FWIW, I have started referring to them as Xanthocyparis, not that many of my colleagues do. Is Cupressus nootkatensis the official name at the moment? And I agree with Chimera, in this area it is known as weeping alaska cedar or weeping yellow cedar, few non industry folks would know the botanical name. Lets teach'em! :)
     
  18. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Still being young trees , hopefully they can get a foothold. Would be interesting to know which cultivar they are, 'Stricta' is a very narrow form. Expect Douglas Justice may know the current official name. If the plant tags in all the retail nurseries had the proper and common names stated it would help educate people.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  19. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I'm putting my money on Cupressus nootkatensis, but being prepared to change to Callitropsis if further scientific research shows clearer evidence for a need for a change.

    The problem arises as to whether the New World Cupressus species are most closely related to the Old World Cupressus species, or to Juniperus. The current evidence suggests they may be closer to to Juniperus, but it is not conclusive yet. If this proves to be the case with further research, then all the New World Cupressus need to be placed in a separate genus of their own, Callitropsis (of which the type species is C. nootkatensis).

    Xanthocyparis is a later synonym of Callitropsis; two botanists have put forward a proposal to conserve the name Xanthocyparis over Callitropsis, but this will not be decided on until the next botanical congress in 2011. Until that is voted on then, Callitropsis is the valid name to use. I'd be very surprised if the proposal to conserve Xanthocyparis is accepted, as it would result in 16 new combinations being required (Xanthocyparis macrocarpa, Xanthocyparis arizonica, Xanthocyparis lusitanica, etc., etc.; these have all been transferred to Callitropsis by Little 2006).

    Some useful references:

    Gadek, P. A., Alpers, D. L., Heslewood, M. M., & Quinn, C. J. (2000). Relationships within Cupressaceae sensu lato. A combined morphological and molecular approach. American Journal of Botany 87: 1044-1057 (treats Nootka Cypress as Cupressus nootkatensis).

    Jagel, A. & Stützel, T. (2001). Zur Abgrenzung der Gattungen Chamaecyparis Spach und Cupressus L. (Cupressaceae) und die systematische Stellung von Cupressus nootkatensis D. Don, Feddes Repert. (Berlin) 112 (3/4): 179-229 (treats Nootka Cypress as Cupressus nootkatensis).

    Little, D. P., Schwarzbach, A., Adams, R. P., & Hsieh, C.-F. (2004). The Circumscription and Phylogenetic Relationship of Callitropsis and the Newly Described Genus Xanthocyparis (Cupressaceae) American Journal of Botany 91: 1872-1881 (treats Nootka Cypress as Callitropsis nootkatensis).

    Xiang, Q. & Li, J. (2005). Derivation of Xanthocyparis and Juniperus from within Cupressus: Evidence from Sequences of nrDNA Internal Transcribed Spacer Region. Harvard Papers in Botany 9: 375-382 (treats Nootka Cypress as Cupressus nootkatensis).

    Farjon, A. (2006). Monograph of Cupressaceae and Sciadopitys. Kew (treats Nootka Cypress as Xanthocyparis nootkatensis).

    Little, D. P. (2006). Evolution and Circumscription of the True Cypresses (Cupressaceae : Cupressus). Systematic Botany 31: 461-480 (treats Nootka Cypress as Callitropsis nootkatensis).
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2007
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Multiple narrow cultivars sold out here, including 'Green Arrow', 'Van Den Akker' etc. Botanical re-classification still being hashed over, even when the matter becomes more or less settled the process is a matter of ~general acceptance and adoption by taxonomists rather than an individual or institution announcing an "official" name.
     
  21. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Michael F. - Interesting, it's not so easy for the general public to keep themselves educated with the proper botanical name. Hope the voting on any name change in 2011 is unanimous.
     
  22. chimera

    chimera Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ron B - growing 'Green Arrow' here, glaucus. 'Jubilee' is also sold in the nurseries.
     
  23. bwsenft

    bwsenft Member

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    Re Alaskan weeping cedar
    Thanks for the suggestions. Interesting comments about stapling etc. I would agree that topping is a last resort but given the poor planting practices of whomever planted the trees it may be something to consider if the trees actually survive and continue to grow, since the roots will likely not anchor the trees firmly enough.

    If the roots have been damaged I may find the trees will become so stressed they may die anyway. The suggestion about feeding the roots may prove to be worthy of a trial however the color of two of the trees have changed during the winter and may need some nitrogen in order to green them up.
     
  24. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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  25. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Hi bwsenft if you love this trees you care this trees (in the lake Maggiore north Italy an esemplere of cupressus cashimiriana 50mq leaves !after one storm is folling ,a team whit botanist,garden man for some days work for up this trees ; for love of the cupresuss)if don't love this trees remove and use another plant good for the conditions of your garden! Chamaecyparis nootkatensis for D .DON that discovery and named this plant is cupressus (quote to book "Trees in Britain, Europe and North America by Roger Phillips)alex66
     

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