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Planting & Product Care

How to Care for and Plant a Cedar Tree

Cedars are popular in the home landscape, whether planted as individual trees or en masse as evergreen privacy hedges. Always have a look at the cedars before you buy. Always make sure tree is green and healthy and nice root ball.


First decide on the height of your cedar you want. Usually the smaller the cedar the better for transplanting and growth. Always ensure nice rootballs of cedars. Dug to specific size of tree. Do not ever purchase but bare root cedars being the risk of the roots drying out.


  • Encourage root growth and good drainage by preparing an entire bedding area instead of just digging individual planting holes. Especially in well-trodden yard areas, soils gets quite compacted, so use a rototiller if needed to till deeply and break up the soil for a well-aerated root zone, adding topsoil and sand as needed. Also add compost, cedar mulch or composted pine bark and mix throughout the soil.

  • Dig a planting hole at least 2 to 3 inches deeper and wider than the root or root ball. If you’re planting a windbreak or privacy hedge, you’ll want to dig a continuous trench instead. Add 2 to 3 inches of peat moss to the hole or trench, then fill with water. Be sure to avoid planting too deep. In fact, planting trees slightly raised is OK for better drainage. Remove any synthetic burlap or wrap.

  • Place the root ball into the hole or trench—on solid soil, for structural support—and position the tree as you want it to stand. (In very poorly drained soils, add drain tile before planting.) Cover the root ball with soil and gently but firmly pack the soil around the tree with the shovel and then with your feet. Finish planting cedars by soaking thoroughly, making sure roots are thoroughly watered.

  • Construct a small moat or earthen dam 4 to 6 inches high around the tree’s drip zone, so water can collect and be directed toward the roots and runoff will be minimized. Add drip irrigation lines or a soaker hose. Place 3 to 4 inches of cedar mulch (atop the soaker hose, if that’s how you’re irrigating) around each tree or all along the hedge, thoroughly filling the moat and otherwise covering the soil.

  • Water for two to three hours in the early morning and evening for the first few weeks, and continue to water during dry periods for the first two years.

  • Cedar trees don't usually need much care beyond the peat moss and mulch, but five or six months after planting, add bone meal to boost growth. In autumn, add more mulch.

  • Sometimes, small cedars will require additional support or anchorage, though an unstaked tree will grow faster and be stronger than a staked one. Trees that were previously staked might require support, as well as those planted in open, windy sites. Stake trees as loosely as possible, to allow some “exercise.”

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