Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ (Emerald cedar)

(Question)

i live in eastern ontarioand have allways trouble with above cedar
they are planted on the northside of the house
no windprotectin here
lots of north west and northeast wind
looking for a replacement
soiltype is clay with sand and compost
my best bet would be something in zone 3
thanks for a fast answer

(Answer)

Hello – You are not the only one looking to replace your emerald cedar.  We have a response on our web site to a previous, similar request.

https://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/replace-emerald-cedars-with-something-else/

However, this gardener lives in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  With a 7a hardiness zone, the suggestions we made are not suitable for you.  The recommended Pyramidal Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata ‘Capitata’) is the hardiest of the yews – to zone 4 but yews suffer from winter windburn so not a good candidate for you.

This gardener did ask about Skyrocket Juniper (Juniper scopulorum ‘Skyrocket) which wasn’t recommended because it requires full sun (6 hours daily) for optimum growth.  If yours is a full sun site, this conifer is a good choice for you.  Juniperus scopulorum, commonly called Rocky Mountain juniper has a columnar form. ‘Skyrocket’ has a particularly narrow shape growing no more than 60 cm (2 ft.) across and 4.5 m (15 ft.) tall over time. It is hardy in zones 3-9.  If you’d like to read more about Rocky Mountain juniper, the link below will take you to some additional information including a list of some of the other cultivars available:

http://www.hort.uconn.edu/plants/detail.php?pid=232

Other zone 3 conifers that I considered also had issues with winter wind burn so I’m wondering if you would consider a deciduous shrub as a replacement?  The native Physocarpus opufolius, commonly called ninebark is hardy to zone 3 and will grow to 3 m (10 ft.) in full sun to part shade.  It is a vigorous, multi-stemmed shrub with exfoliating bark and small, pink flowers in early summer.  There are many cultivars available including dwarf forms and a range of colours in the foliage.  One of the most popular cultivars is Physocarpusopufolius‘Diablo’. It has intensely purple leaves all season long and white flowers emerging from pink buds. To read more about ninebark from the Missouri Botanical Garden, click on the link below.

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=g840

I hope one of these suggestions will work for you as an alternative to your cedars. Best of luck!