Planting Emerald cedar

(Question)

Hi
I live in Maple, in a new subdivision and I am looking to plant 10 x 5 foot Emerald cedar in my back yard as hedging; I purchased them from Lowes last weekend, but my soil is mostly clay and I afraid to have drainage issue. These are BC Emerald and I heard they are not doing well in our environment.

Is there any way I can make sure they will survive and grow well ?

(Answer)

Dear gardener,

Thuja occidentalis “Emerald Green” or “Smaragd” is one of the most common evergreens used for hedging as they produce a nice dense quality and natural conical shape.

Since your soil seems to be quite compacted (quite common in new builds), you need to provide a good environment for the cedars to thrive. A full sun location is also optimal for cedars.

First of all, you want to dig a hole wide enough so that you can add a mix of compost and current soil around it. Before planting, test the speed of drainage by filling the hole with water. If the water sits in the hole for a long time, you may need to increase the size of the planting hole (or ditch) in order to improve the area around the rootball and avoid sitting in water. Emerald Cedars require good drainage.

Next take cedar out of container and check that none of the roots are wrapping around. If that is the case, loosen them gently. Place rootball in hole and adjust height so that the cedar crown is sitting slightly above ground level. Water well and often, particularly if you have long periods of drought. Depending on the purpose for the hedging (privacy, wind breaking, etc.), you may want to decide on the planting distance between them; 1-2′ will give enough area for the cedars to grow healthy.

Once you have finish the hedge, you can add some mulch around the planting hole but make sure the mulch is away from the tree trunk.

As the winter approaches, do not forget to water your cedars (unless it is a very wet Fall). Cedars become dessicated in the winter (brown) when they have not been able to retain enough moisture.

For your reading pleasure I have annexed some post in regards to proper planting techniques for cedar hedges: http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/index.php/askagardener/emerald-green-cedars/

Planting Cedars

Hope you found this information useful.

Good luck!