Degroot Cedar

(Question)

Hello, I’d like to find out if Degroot cedar will grow well on the north side of the house where it gets 3 hours of direct sun at most. Also, how much soil depth it would need as a minimum? It’s a foundation planting and there might be only 1 foot of soil, with a landscape fabric and gravel below. Would 1.5 foot be enough? I’d greatly appreciate your help.

(Answer)

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

Thuja occidentalis ‘Degroot’s Spire’ is a dwarf, slow-growing, evergreen shrub with an upright, pyramidal habit which thrives in full sun ( 6 hours of direct sunlight), however it will tolerate partial shade (3-6 hours of morning or early afternoon sun). At maturity this type of cedar will grow to be about 12 feet tall, with a spread of 3 feet within 15-20 years.

Degroot’s cedars tolerates a wide range of fertile well-drained soils. During  hot and dry weather, like we had this summer, periodic deep waterings are advisable, especially when shrubs are grown as foundation plants. Do not allow your newly planted cedar to dry out completely as it may drop foliage and become bare and unattractive.

It is also recommended to protect your newly planted cedar from the drying winter winds by wrapping it in burlap especially during it’s first year.

The best time for planting coniferous trees is from mid to late spring when the soil has warmed up a little. The cooler days of autumn are the second best planting time. Before planting, make sure to prepare the hole before the tree is removed from its container.

The width of the hole should be at least twice as wide as its planting container – wider is even better. The purpose is to loosen as much surrounding soil as possible so that the roots can easily grow while absorbing plenty of water, nutrients and air.

The depth should be as deep as the container. You can measure the depth by placing the container into your hole. Don’t dig much deeper than the container. Anytime the soil is loosened, it eventually resettles.  If you have dug a hole that is too deep, the tree will sink when the ground resettles. This can lead to disease because the trunk, unlike the roots, is not meant to be buried in soil.

You may wish to refer to our Gardening Guide on Planting a Tree which gives step by step instructions on the proper steps required for planting a tree.