eastern white cedars

(Question)

HELLO i have a cedar hedge 1.5 years old .planted in the sun
did great in the summer but i have noticed that some have become a bit thin.also it has produced a lot of seed clusters
i would like to know if thinning is normal before the fall/winter please advise
thank you

(Answer)

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about your cedar hedge thinning, and also its seed heads.

Thinning of cedars is a common problem. The thinning of your cedars will be helped with pruning your trees, which encourages lateral growth. Pruning of your cedars can be done at any time in the growing season, but do try and get it done before the end of September. Some more guidelines on how to prune or sheer your hedge, can be found here:

https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/tall-cedarswinter-damage/

https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/trimming-eastern-cedar-with-seed-growth/

https://mark-cullen.blogspot.com/2010/09/cedar-hedges-investment-that-grows.html

Secondly, I have also noticed that this year the cedars in my neighborhood seem to have more seed heads than usual. Seed production is a cyclical phenomenon since it takes the tree so much energy to produce its seeds. Next year, expect a very light production of seeds. Pruning the seeds off will not harm your trees. However, these seeds are very important to our birds who overwinter here. Ideally, please consider keeping a pile of the pruned seeds close to the tree for the birds to eat.

In general, keep in mind that cedars are happier with a lot of water, so do keep them well watered. The use of mulch is an excellent way to maintain moisture around the shallow root system of cedars – it also gradually adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes and will also be beneficial in keeping weeds at bay

Fertilizing once a year is recommended, although excess fertilizer can cause root burn and prevent the roots from growing. Hence it is vital to follow the instructions on the container carefully.  It is also important to use a fertilizer with a higher middle (P – Phosphorus) number such as 5-15-5 in order to encourage root growth. More information on fertilizing can be found here:

https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/fertilizing-cedar-hedges/

Good Luck!