Hi There. I have recently planted Emerald Cedars in an area that seems to stay quite wet. Previous to the Cedars, I have Hills Yews planted last May. They died in a few months. It may be that the Yews died due to how wet the soil was? My question is in caring for the newly planted Cedars, it was recommended that I water them for only about a minute at the root daily for three weeks. I have also read that Cedars generally like moist soil and should not be dry when the Cedars are young. I just want to ensure that these Cedars don’t suffer the same fate at the Yews. Just looking for some care advice.
Thanks for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
We do get a lot of questions about Emerald Cedars. You mention that your soil is quite wet–probably a typical Toronto clay soil. It was unfortunate that you lost the Hill’s yews that you planted last year; they do require a soil with good drainage. Was the soil amended with compost before the yews were planted? On the other hand, Emerald cedars prefer a moist soil as long as there is good drainage–they don’t like sitting in water. If the moisture is consistent until the trees are able to put out roots into the surrounding soil, they should be fine. Adding some compost or mulch around the cedars (not against the trunks) will help to maintain the appropriate amount of moisture in the soil.
In typical circumstances, the recommendation to water for a minute per day might be adequate since your soil tends to be moist. However, make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out in the 30’C. temperatures with minimal rainfall that we are experiencing this week in southern Ontario; you may have to water for longer each day to ensure that the cedars are getting adequate moisture.
How much sun will your cedars be getting? Emerald cedars do prefer full sun; it’s unclear from your picture if they will receive at least 6 hours of sun per day–they seem to be in the shadow of the houses and your fence when you took the picture.
Here is some information on growing Emerald cedars. It seems that you are aware of what is needed to make sure that your Emerald cedars will thrive. We hope that they will continue to grow to form an attractive privacy screen.