How can I revive this emerald cedar tree? I repotted it last summer. I left it on my balcony throughout the winter. As you can see it’s a bit dry now.
Unfortunately, your cedar tree appears to be in some distress.
Browning of the needles/leaves indicates a severe lack of moisture. Evergreen trees are prone to this type of browning, especially during the late winter/early spring. The issue starts when daytime temperatures rise and sun rays become stronger, the leaves/needles of evergreens then lose moisture but the plant roots are unable to replace this loss as the soil is either still frozen or bone dry. Your problem is also further compounded by two things – 1. the tree being in a container severely reduces the amount of available moisture in the soil, and, 2. the tree being overwintered on a balcony where it is exposed to drying winds.
For more information on Winter Browning of Evergreen trees, please see the link from the University of Manitoba below:
Alternative trees to plant that may be less susceptible to winter browning are, Boxwood, Yew, Dwarf Blue Spruce, Pine, Japanese Junipers, Hemlock, Bay, Viburnum, Pagoda Dogwood, Sambucus Black Lace, or dwarf Japanese Maples. However, these will all need some form of winter protection. Insulated containers and wind breaks for your balcony are worth looking into.
Diligent watering, until freeze-up in the fall and again in the late winter/early spring when the temperatures begin to rise, is crucial for tree survival in a pot. Selecting a good quality potting soil and then maintaining a fertilizing regime during the growing season is also very important.