plant estearn red cedar

Planting Eastern Red Cedar (Complete Guide)


An easy-to-grow conifer, ornamental with its evergreen and delicately fragrant foliage, the Eastern Red Cedar comes in many species of various sizes and forms. You are sure to find a place for it in your garden!


When to plant Eastern Red Cedar?

In containers, plant Eastern Red Cedar preferably in September, October or in winter, except during frosty periods.


How to plant Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar is best planted in the fall to facilitate rooting and therefore recovery in the spring. However, you can also plant in the spring by watering a little more at the beginning.


The Eastern Red Cedar tolerates almost all types of soil and performs just as well in humid conditions as in dry periods. But it needs a well-drained soil where water does not stagnate.


Planting Eastern Red Cedar in the ground

Eastern Red Cedar is not a difficult plant. It tolerates most soils, even calcareous, sandy or poor soils as long as the soil is well drained and not too heavy. Our Eastern Red Cedar also tolerates pollution and sea spray. The icing on the cake: it is very hardy and can therefore be introduced into most gardens in our country!


Plant the Eastern Red Cedar in autumn or spring, anticipating the adult size of the chosen subject. It is best to plant it in full sun or half-shade in southern regions. Water your plant well the first year following its planting to ensure a good recovery especially in hot and dry weather. Then you will not have to take care of it anymore, nature will do the rest!


Pruning is unnecessary on Eastern Red Cedars. If necessary, pruning should be reduced to the strict minimum, taking care not to head off the trees, which would be very difficult to bear.


Planting Eastern Red Cedar in pots

Dwarf Eastern Red Cedars planted in pots containing a light mixture (1/4 potting soil, 1/4 garden soil, 2/4 river sand) should be watered more often, especially during the summer. Add liquid nitrogen fertilizer once a fortnight to the watering.


Re-pot before the plant shows signs of weakening (yellowing of the leaves, parasite attacks). Large, difficult to move containers will be satisfied with an annual resurfacing, with good potting soil added with compost and ground horn powder.


Maintenance and pruning of Eastern Red Cedar

The maintenance of Eastern Red Cedar is very easy as it requires almost no care. Pruning is not recommended, especially since the beauty of Eastern Red Cedar is its natural habit, whether it is columnar or spreading.


If you must prune to reduce or balance the branching, do so in early summer and avoid pruning too close to the trunk and prefer a light pruning rather than a heavy cutting back.


Eastern Red Cedar can be pruned as a bonsai tree, but it can also be used as a topiary, as it is not afraid to be pruned to the desired shape.


Pruning Eastern Red Cedar

When to prune?

  • For the maintenance of an isolated form, intervene in July.
  • If you want to regularize a hedge, do it in 2 times, in June and in September, by removing only the ends of the new shoots.


How to prune ?

You can prune some branches to keep a shape and limit the development a little. However, only slightly intervene on the extremities of the new shoots, never on wood older than 2 years, nor on the top, that could be fatal.


You can of course remove dead wood or a broken branch. In this case, chew the wound.


You can also remove the young shoots that are too numerous and directed towards the interior to aerate your plant a little.


Diseases, pests and parasites of Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedars are, among the conifers grown in gardens, the most resistant to disease and pest attacks.


They can be attacked by red spider mites in very dry and hot summer weather. At the first signs of infestation, water the plants at the end of the day, this is often enough to eliminate them.


Similarly, mealy bugs and aphids can spread in the spring. They can be avoided or fought from the beginning of their attack by treatments respecting the ecology like a shower with black soap.


More rarely attacks of leafminers appear and are difficult to eliminate. They can cause significant damage to the foliage and sometimes the trunks. Eliminate them with a biological treatment.


The larvae are laid by a beetle called the bupreste which likes Eastern Red Cedars as much as cedars. The larvae, once established, are difficult to eliminate and can cause significant damage to Eastern Red Cedar wood planted in hedges. The only treatment is to remove and cut the affected parts and must be undertaken as soon as possible.


Some cryptogamic diseases can also attack it. Root rot in humid and poorly drained soil, but also rust from spring and summer.


Finally, the cryptogamic diseases root rot and rust can be prevented by simple measures such as spraying with nettle manure and, in case of failure, treated with products accepted in organic agriculture.


Multiplication of Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar can be propagated by sowing, cutting, layering or grafting, depending on the species.



Sowing is done in winter, in a nursery.

It takes several years (2 to 3) for a Eastern Red Cedar seed to grow. This method is practically used only for 2 species Eastern Red Cedar communis and Eastern Red Cedar virginiana.


First immerse the seeds in boiling water for a few seconds and then put them to stratify in the nursery in sand to make them undergo the action of the cold, by maintaining wet the substrate.



Cutting is possible for Eastern Red Cedar communis, Eastern Red Cedar virginiana and Eastern Red Cedar chinensis. Operate in summer: soak the end of the cuttings in cutting hormone then plant them in a mixture of sand and peat and keep the substrate moist.



Species like Eastern Red Cedar communis tend to marcott spontaneously. It is then enough to separate the marcottes after a few months.



For other species, you can always try grafting in the spring.

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