Cedar tree with dead branches on one side.


H. I have cedar trees that have dead branches only on one side. That is the side that is not exposed to the sun. The other sides look great and healthy. The trees are about 18 years old and plantes in front of the porch. Is it normal or should I hire a specialist to look into it?


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your inquiry.

We receive many questions regarding cedars, and there are many causes of browning and die back in cedars and it can be extremely difficult to determine the cause. You noted that the browning is on the shaded side of the tree, and while cedars will tolerate partial shade they do need some sun so this could indeed be a possible cause if they are completely shaded on that side.

The link Browing Pyramidal Cedars contains a list of archived questions on our website which contains information on the proper care, fertilization and pruning of cedars. There is also an explanation of common pests for cedars, so please take a look to determine if they might be the culprit in your case.

The article Why Are My Emerald Cedar Leaves Turning Brown? https://www.thespruce.com/why-are-my-emerald-cedar-leaves-turning-brown-2132818 outlines various reasons why cedar leaves turn brown.

Dying and Browning Emerald Cedars*

It also could be possible that your cedar is suffering from root rot, which some cedars are susceptible. Here is some more information on cedar root rot.

Dying Cedar hedges-What is the Cause

Cedar, Port oxford (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana) Root Rot

Please take a look at these resources and if you’re unable to determine the cause we would agree with your thought to hire a specialist to examine the tree to determine the precise cause. Wishing you luck in caring for your cedar.

May 31, 2022