During last week’s wild wind storm, my balcony emerald cedar, which was wrapped and its container well protected for the winter, was toppled multiple times. This probably wasn’t the wisest thing to do, but I brought it inside because no corner was safe from the high winds. I’m on the 11th floor facing west. I have probably disrupted its winter dormancy, and so I am not sure what to do now, as we still have a few weeks of quite cold winter left. I read an answer to another post, which recommended watering an evergreen if the roots thawed. Should I just keep it inside now (it’s near a big patio door/window) and water the soil occasionally until the worst of the cold temps are behind us and I can return it to the balcony? It’s in good condition and is a healthy little tree that has graced my balcony in its container for four years! Would hate to see something happen to it now. Thank you.
Thank you for your question on what to do with a potted emerald cedar that has been brought inside in mid-winter. We have had a number of questions about emerald cedars and some helpful resources can be found below.
Since your cedar has already had a period of dormancy – which it needs to get ready for the spring growth spurt—and the roots have undoubtedly thawed out, it is probably best to avoid damage from further freezing and thawing by keeping it inside until early spring. At that time you can harden it off by taking it out for a few hours a day for several days before leaving it outside permanently.
Meanwhile regular watering every few weeks will be necessary as emerald cedars need moderate amounts of moisture and the roots must not be allowed to dry out. Emerald cedars also need a lot of light for photosynthesis – essential for proper growth. You could also consider giving it an additional light source such as a grow lamp.
Here are some helpful resources for your tree:
- Ask a Master Gardener. Growing Emerald Cedar in Container
- University of Minnesota Extension. Protecting trees and shrubs against winter damage
As well, there is a lot of good general information on emerald cedars posted to the Toronto Master Gardeners – take a look at our Ask a Master Gardener website (torontomastergardeners.ca) and search on the term “emerald cedar”.