Very long new needles on C. libani var. atlantica 'Aurea'

Discussion in 'Gymnosperms (incl. Conifers)' started by akimbo, May 31, 2012.

  1. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    I got this golden Atlas Cedar from a reputable nursery last year and was assured it was not going to be a large tree, i.e. not the Deadara. It was ID'd as C. libani var. atlantica 'Aurea' on this forum and it does appear to be a golden version of the more common blue atlas cedar with its more upright branching and short needles. This Spring I have been surprised to see tremendous growth with new needles that are more than twice the length of the previous year. I hope this spurt is due to the fact that it was planted in rich soil and not because it really is a Deadara. --see pics. Last year I watered it well after planting, but this year am not planning to water much at all. I do not have the space for a Deadara.

    The first two pics I took today, where you can see last year's short needles compared to the very long new needles. The third pic is from the same date last year.

    Any thoughts?
     

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  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Must admit, it does look very like Deodar Cedar, even in the last pic, where it looks as though it is yellow and a bit stunted due to nutrient deficiency in a pot.
     
  3. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    Akimbo could you post a photo of the whole shrub/tree? How long are those new needles?

    I've planted several deodara's this spring. Here's the most close-up photo I have right this second.

    IMG_1395 - 2012-04-21 at 02-55-15.jpg
     
  4. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    As was probably mentioned in some way previously I don't think I've ever seen the true 'Aurea' here, plants so labeled always being instead 'Aurea Robusta'. Your plant turning out to be one of the multiple golden forms of Himalayan cedar that have been on the market in this region could explain the situation nicely. As it continues to respond to being released from the container it will become more clear what it is.

    Don't know if I got into it before but this is not the first discussion I've seen or heard where who a plant of suspect identification came from was supposed to certify that it was true-to-name. The reality is that even originating nurseries providing their own introductions may have labeling mixups or other circumstances resulting in them putting out the wrong plants. Yet on those occasions when I have pointed out highly questionable if not clearly wrong identifications at outlets here the frequent rebuttal is that the particular supplier involved wouldn't send them the wrong item.

    And pretty much never is it argued that the stock has the correct leaves or habit etc. - points which outweigh who it came from, when clearly not those of the kind the plant is supposed to be.
     
  5. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Attached are comparison photos. When I bought the tree last April it was in a large pot and did not appear root bound when I planted it. It's needles were initially very golden then turned more green as the season wore on. The old needles are 2cm long. The new ones are 6 cm long, hence my concern. As you can see all the surrounding plants have also grown tremendously. Could be the rich soil I used?

    The tree was a bit crooked and I thought it had a nice posture for my Japanese corner. I was told it would grow to about 12 feet. Later, our new arborist expressed that a larch would have been a better choice for that location, but I wanted something evergreen. When we had a tree delivered by the owner of another nursery but he did not appear familiar with the Aurea.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  6. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    akimbo, I don't know if this is helpful or not, but my new needles are 8cm long, and my bark looks quite different from yours. My deodara is also more of a mint green.

    IMG_1463 - 2012-04-30 at 21-51-02.jpg

    IMG_1464 - 2012-04-30 at 21-54-21.jpg
     
  7. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Thanks Ron B. So true. I did find the nursery becoming defensive after I bought the tree and started doing some research, particularly when I asked for confirmation about the size and the precise I.D. I found this description for a Cedrus atlantica 'Aurea' "The new needles of 'Aurea' glow golden yellow the first year and become green in the second year. The tree is slow-growing with the branches spreading more horizontally--a lovely sight in the formal or wild landscape."

    I am most surprised that the branches have changed from upright to drooping. I sure hope it isn't the Robusta or Deadara.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    It may not have appeared rootbound but that top dieback indicates it had been through quite a trial - you bought the kind of seriously diminished specimen that has been unloaded as a discounted "sad plant" at one or more outlets here. I would have definitely washed and exposed the roots, looked for deformities at planting time. The lax, lush foliage appearance it has already produced does suggest you bought a Himalayan cedar. It will be easier to tell for sure later, when it is more developed.

    Probably it was received from the grower as Cedrus deodara 'Aurea', the part that became confused (or incorrectly determined) later being the species name (libani instead of deodara). It could have been as simple as the label being lost, someone not remembering what the stock came in as looking at a picture of C. libani 'Aurea' and deciding that was what your plant was - it looking similar because of having become a Charlie Brown Christmas tree from sitting around in the sales yard in the same pot too long.
     
  9. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Thanks for the photos SeaWitch. Yes, very different colour than mine, and your needles are longer. My neighbours have a deadara and it is about 40 feet tall, hence my concern that my perfect little tree is morphing into a monster.
     
  10. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    akimbo, if it turns out to be a deodara, i'll be happy to take it off your hands ;o) and trade you for something....
     
  11. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Yes, it was indeed a 'sad plant' but I felt the shape would look well in my Japanese garden. However in the nursery it was next to another golden (not sad plant) and two blue versions with similar needles that definitely were not deodara. Their needles were short and branches horizontal or upright. Well, I just hope I don't have a massive extraction on my hands in a few years. thanks for your thoughts.
     
  12. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it. :))
     
  13. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    That's exceptionally long even for Deodar Cedar. More usually, 4-5cm for the longest needles, compared to ~2-3cm for Lebanon Cedar.
     
  14. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    I took another look and most of the new needles are 4.5 to 5.5 cm with the odd one being 6cm, so perhaps you are correct, but last years needles are much shorter. With the way my other plants around the tree are busting out in all directions this Spring, I wonder if it might have something to do with the rich soil I used. I watered it well after planting last year, but I'm planning to water very little this summer.
     
  15. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    I laughed when I read this. Maybe I'm the one with the tree that's not what it's supposed to be! I'm pretty confident about what I have, needle length or not....but you never know....
     
  16. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    The other Cedrus produce shorter needles, long lax needles makes yours Himalayan.
     
  17. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    Thanks Ron B, now I can sleep tonight ;o)
     
  18. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Thanks RonB, I'll give it another year or two, but it's looking more and more like it's the wrong tree in the wrong place. So annoying because I spent a long time talking to the nurseryman who grew the tree and I received assurance that it was not the Himalayan.
     
  19. Sea Witch

    Sea Witch Active Member

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    keep us posted!
     
  20. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    My last response was to this statement, actually:

    I laughed when I read this. Maybe I'm the one with the tree that's not what it's supposed to be! I'm pretty confident about what I have, needle length or not....but you never know....
     
  21. akimbo

    akimbo Active Member

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    Follow up--2 years later

    Well my so-called "cedrus libani atlantica aurea" did indeed turn out to be your common Himalayan cedar--cedrus deodara. Over two years the needles grew long, droopy, and darker green--the beginnings of a monster. My neighbour has one that is 60' tall. After spending $100 on purchase, delivery, soil... I couldn't bear looking at it so I gave it away for free. Learned my lesson, i.e. buy from a nursery you can trust. BTW my Tsuga Mertensiana is doing very well, is well behaved, and is indeed a slow growing tree. I'm getting another one. I've had nice trees from Penninsula Nursery in North Saanich. Great selection from this nursery and he is a bonsai expert. His trees have interesting, more natural forms--not the generic lolly-pop shapes that so many nurseries cultivate.
     

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