Discoloured Cedars


I planted cedars along one of my fences for privacy from my neighbours. They’re each about 5′ tall and I’m hoping in a year or so, they’ll spread out a bit. The problem is that they began to yellow and brown on the bottom before the winter. The tops look fine. My boyrfiend thinks the dog pees on them, but I doubt it because it’s affecting all of them and I know Barkley doesn’t pee on every single one. I’m wondering if the chemistry of our soil is just off. Also, I didn’t wrap the bases in burlap before the winter because I assumed evergreens were fine without the protection. If I haven’t lost them by spring, is there anything I can do to “spruce” them up?


The biggest problem with Cedars is dieback, which can be caused by cold, and sometimes the problem is due to weevils or canker. Root rot can also occur in poorly drained soils.

Cedars prefer full sun or partial shade with an average to fertile, moist loamy well-drained soil. It is very possible that the current location/ soil conditions may have caused the die back.  This is a natural process that takes place in Cedars. This condition can take place abruptly or over a number of weeks in early spring or fall. If weather conditions have been unfavorable or there is an insect infestation the needle drop will occur more rapidly.

If this is the case in mid spring prune out all the dead wood to where the shrub has started to regenerate and thin out the new shoots if they are overcrowding or crossing. If there is no sign of life by mid to late spring  nick the bark to see if there is any live green wood beneath, some shrubs may remain dormant for an entire growing season, particularly if they have been recently relocated.

For more information about Cedars, go to our website and in the search box, type ‘cedars’.  You’ ll have access to questions and their answers asked by other garden enthusiasts

Good luck!