Emerald cedars – winter damage

(Question)

The trees were planted Aug. or early Sept. 2013 and looked really good and healthy. We had a bad winter and also an ice storm so they got bent over and have a lot brownish branches. On June 2nd, I cut the tops, quite a bit of the brown out and have fertilized them twice. They are in a good location. First I tied them to our fence hoping they would grow straight up.That didn’t happen so that is why I did the above. Do you think they will come along, or have I destroyed them?

(Answer)

Dear gardener, thank you for contacting the Toronto Master gardeners with your question.

Let me start by saying that you have not destroyed them. Snow coverage can misshape evergreens quite rapidly. This year’s ice storm added even more weight for a prolonged period of time.

By feeding, watering and tying up you are helping your cedars get back in shape. The growing season is just beginning and once they star having new growth, they will gain some of their shape back.

I should mention that some of the ‘brown’ we are seeing on evergreens is also due to lack of moisture in the late fall. As the winter approaches this year, make sure to keep your cedars moist until the ground freezes. This will avoid desiccation. Depending on their exposure, some people wrap burlap around their evergreens to maintain their shape. This is not always necessary but thought I would mention it in case yours are located directly under a roof or any structure that would accumulate snow.

Here is additional information from our website which you may find interesting:  https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/askagardener/tall-cedarswinter-damage/

Good luck!