Emerald cedar


I have a wall of these emerald cedars in my backyard , I would like to plant two more but the problem is that area is a bit shady and r more likely to die because lack of sun , is their a chance it can still survive since the others have and if not what other cedar can I plant in shady area besides black cedar


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.

Emerald cedars (Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ or Arborvitae) are very attractive trees with thick green foliage and a narrow, pointed growth habit. They require full sun and consistent watering to maintain good growth throughout the year.  It is important that once planted, the soil is kept moist–do not let the soil dry out; but make sure that the soil has adequate drainage–excessive water around the roots can cause dieback.  Browning of the foliage due to inconsistent watering is one of the main problems with growing this cedar. And, as is the case with most conifers, they may suffer some browning during the freeze-thaw cycles during the late winter months–the ground remains frozen as the air becomes warm; the plant is unable to take moisture in through its roots to replenish moisture loss  due to warmer temperatures.

There are a couple better choices for your ‘partially-shaded’ conditions. You might consider a couple of  yews (Taxus) that will do well in your growing conditions: Pyramidal Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata ‘Capitata’) grows in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. The pyramidal Japanese yew would resemble the shape of the emerald cedar. Another possibility would be Hick’s Yew (Taxus x media ‘Hicksii’). According to the Missouri Botanical Garden: “Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerates shade and is considered to be an excellent evergreen for shady conditions. Prefers moist, sandy loams, but plants have no tolerance for wet conditions which must be avoided. Good soil drainage is essential. Tolerates urban conditions. Best sited in locations protected from cold winter winds.” The upright growth habit of either of these yews would make them good replacement choices for your emerald cedars.

You may also be interested in our Gardeing Guide on Evergreens Suitable for Hedging

No matter what tree you choose in the end, it is vital that it is planted properly.  Even a healthy tree ideally suited to your location, receiving all the TLC you can give it, will suffer and even die if it is incorrectly planted and not cared for post-planting. For more information, please go to Planting a Tree: A Toronto Master Gardeners Guide

You may also find our Gardening Guide on mulch useful: https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/gardeningguides/using-mulch-in-your-organic-garden-a-toronto-master-gardeners-guide/

Lastely, there is a wealth of information on cedar hedging on our website. Simply type Cedar Hedging in the Find it Here box located on the right side of the page.