Hedges: Are my cedars dying?

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by gzarzoso, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. gzarzoso

    gzarzoso Member

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    Hi there, I hope someone can provide some insight on my cedar hedges. I live in Toronto, Canada and when I bought my house a year ago, the cedars had no shape and basically grew wild because the previous owners didn't really maintain the look. The cedars act like a privacy fence and they are about 8-10 ft high, about 8 feet wide (even wider in some parts) and run along the side of the house about 125 feet. I had them pruned in May 2009 by a local tree expert. I just noticed recently in some parts of the hedge that it's turning brown and there are holes in the hedges that make it look "patchy". The bottom part of the hedges look a bit bare and I'm afraid to think they are dying. We've had quite a bit of rainfall over the summer, so I think don't think it's dehydration. I don't know when was the last time they've been fertilized. It's the start of the winter season here and I'm just wondering could this be happening due to the season? Is there anything I should or could do now or should I just wait until the spring. I would hate to lose these trees because they do provide a lot of privacy. If anyone can shed some light on this and provide some tips on how this cedar hedge should be taken care of, that would be great.
     
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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    If they cut too much off that may be your problem. Old, bare inner sections do not fill back in later.
     
  3. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    In most cases, false cedars, not true Cedars (such as Cedrus libani-Cedar of Lebanon versus Thuja plicata- Western Red Cedar or Smaragds- Emerald Cedars)) that are used primarily for hedges on the "Wet" Coast of BC, if not consistently maintained with careful trimming, dead spots appear, and likely remain indefinitely; though a slow come back is possible depending on the severity of the cut back.
     
  4. gzarzoso

    gzarzoso Member

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    I don't believe they were cut down too much. As far as I know, the arborist had trimmed the tips and the sides to give it a "squared off" look. He couldn't cut it down too much because it would be cutting into the trunk. If you brush along the side of the cedars, the brownish dry leaves would fall to the ground. Is it dehydration or something else? Is the hedge on the verge of dying or is it still salvageable. Is there something I can do now to help or is it too late? To remove the hedge would be very costly and I would hate to lose these cedar hedges.

    Thanks
     
  5. ken adrian

    ken adrian Member

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    hi peeps ...

    all conifers eventually shed needles... INTERIOR browning is normal .... due to age.. and shading by the growth tips ...

    when they cut away some of the surface .... they exposed interior needles... and as they were shed this fall .. i SUSPECT that you are getting the bare spots you are worrying about .... it is very hard without a picture to go much further ...

    without a soil test.. i would say.. conifers NEVER need fertilizer ... and that is evidenced by the monsters you sought to tame ....

    well established trees.. which conifers are... just do not NEED food .. though a LITTLE of this or that probably wont hurt.. but if you are fert'g the lawn.. most likely they are getting everything they need ...

    i would give them next spring and summer.. to push some new growth ... and see how it all works out ....

    obviously ... they have been growing like the weeds they are.. without human intervention for quite a while.. let them do their thing... try to avoid killing them with too much love .... and i bet they will recover nicely [presuming your expert was the expert claimed] ....

    good luck

    ken
     
  6. gzarzoso

    gzarzoso Member

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    I would say the cedar hedges failry mature...approx 30 years old...if not older. The only fertilizer the hedges have been getting are the grass clippings when I've mowed the lawn. I used winter fertilizer on the lawn about 2 months ago to prepare the lawn for the winter season. The cedars have been definitely grown since it was pruned in Spring 2009...you can see the growth from the top of the trees. I will try to take some pictures and post them if that will help.
     
  7. gzarzoso

    gzarzoso Member

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    Here's some pictures before the hedges were pruned in May 2009. As you can see they have not been managed by the previous owned and essentially grew wild. You can see in IMG_4068 a bare patch where I used a trimmer...will that grow back? I don't have any recent pictures but will take some and post.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. gzarzoso

    gzarzoso Member

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    I've attached pictures of my cedar hedges that were taken a few days ago. Are the browning of the leaves and the bare patches in the hedge due to winter season and is there any chance of growth?
     

    Attached Files:

  9. ken adrian

    ken adrian Member

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    IF IT WERE ME ....

    i would see what spring flush does ...

    and in mid summer.. i would just take some hand shears and remove the remaining brown stuff ...

    to my eye.. the lushness of the lawn indicates that your LARGE conifers do not need any FOOD .... unless a soil test is performed.. and something is found lacking in the soil ....

    a tree .. which conifers are... is said [i dont know by whom.. lol] ... to have roots as big if not twice as big as the tree above ... ergo .. the roots are throughout that lush lawn ... and if in fact your fert that lawn.. then the plants are getting whatever they need .... the shear size of them indicates there cant be all that much missing from their diet...

    with trees and conifers.. we must have patience .... they are not going to react to pruning like some annual or perennial and SHOW a result in the short term ... the results of your prunings.. will begin to show next season.. and might not be complete until the second year ...

    so .. see you next june or july with a followup???? ... just try to not harm them by loving them too much.. or doing 'more' to help save something that does NOT need saving .... just give them time ...

    good luck

    ken
     
  10. gzarzoso

    gzarzoso Member

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    Thanks for the diagnosis and immediate response...we'll see what happens next spring/summer...hopefully i'll see good results
     
  11. gzarzoso

    gzarzoso Member

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    One other question...at least every tree expert I spoke to prior to having the hedge pruned recommended deep root fertilization either in the spring or late summer/early fall. Quotes ran between $200 - $400 which I did find to be quite pricy. Since the lawn's already getting fertilized from my grass clippings and having recently fertilized my lawn with winter fertilizer...would deep root fertilization be recommended? I don't want to have the extra expense if it wouldn't be required.

    Thanks
     
  12. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Waste of money injecting pockets of liquid fertilizer, which does not travel through the soil. IF fertilization indicated (as with a soil test), sprinkling of granular fertilizer over the surface of the soil usual preferred method.
     
  13. ken adrian

    ken adrian Member

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    agreed ron .. and if you are going to do that.. may as well apply it to the lawn ... and do both at the same time ... since that is probably were all the feeder roots are anyway ... IMHO ...

    ken
     
  14. Hanieh

    Hanieh New Member

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    Hello, Could you please say what happened to the hedges? I am facing a similar issue.

    Thanks,
     
  15. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Esteemed Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Hi! It's been 10 years since the original discussion. It is probably best if you started a new thread with some images.
     

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