Delayed planting of Emerald Cedars


How long can you leave the Emerald Cedar in the plastic container before you can plant it?..Some good deals right now but I won’t be planting for 3 to 4 weeks .


Dear Gardener, thank you so much for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

I have gone to the many postings on Cedars in the TMG’s archives, to come up with an answer. We have a wealth of information on our website with regards to transplanting cedars, cedar care etc. Simple type ’emerald cedar ‘ into the search bar located to the right of the page and you will find numerous archived posts.

Spring is best time to plant a tree. Coniferous trees prefer to be planted from mid to late spring when the soil has begun to warm up. So, the sooner you get your tree into the ground the better, but it seems that you still have a bit of time. As long as you keep it well watered, it looks as though it will be fine in its container.

Leave your cedar in a cool, shady location. Dig a hole in the new location that is two times wider than the root ball and the same depth. Do not add topsoil or compost or other soil amendments as this will limit root growth. Do not place soil above the root collar. Fill the hole half full with water and then back fill with the original soil. Press down gently and firmly to eliminate air pockets.  Water thoroughly, at least two buckets full, every day for the first two weeks and continue to water every two to three days for the next couple of weeks to encourage the roots to re-establish.

There is more information on planting trees, including timing, in the Toronto Master Gardener Gardening Guide: Planting a Tree: A Toronto Master Gardener Guide

Also of interest may be: When to Transplant Evergreens:

Here is some general information on growing healthy cedars from two of our earlier posts:

Watering deeply and thoroughly (at least once or twice a week after planting), is key so that your cedars’ roots can take hold.  This is much more effective than frequent spraying or light watering, and can be done easily by using a soaker hose along the base of the cedars for several hours to ensure that the moisture reaches into the roots of the plant.  Watering should continue well into the autumn until the ground is frozen to maintain adequate moisture through the winter.  Cold winter winds can desiccate the foliage – once the ground is frozen, your cedars cannot take up moisture to replace what is lost from their foliage.

Fertilizing the cedar with a 30-10-10 formulation three times in the growing season (May, June and July) is appropriate. It is very important to follow exactly the directions for applying fertilizers so that they are absorbed into the soil and are able to reach the plant’s roots.  Don’t fertilize in late summer as the tree needs to prepare to go dormant for the winter.