Garden Mission 2: Lift Cedar Tree 2’s ‘undercarriage’!

The cedar tree at the back of our garden was kept somewhat in check growth wise by the vine which attempted each summer to smother it. Having freed it a few weekends ago, we felt it was time to turn our attention to the cedar tree in the middle of our garden. This tree has been growing bigger and bigger over the past 3 years without any pruning or attention as neither of us really knew quite what to do with it (plus we were keeping pretty busy with other internal refurbishments!).

The cedar was dropping its needles on the grass below causing it to die,  (even if our resident fox Mr. Franklin did like to sit on the bald patch).   It was crowding out the roses and euphorbia beneath, and creating unnecessary shade in our garden.

The time had come for some drastic action.

I read up on How To Prune Cedar Trees, and  the advice was that it should be done in early spring (about now in the UK), and very carefully so as not to expose the ‘dead zone’ in the centre of the tree.  Because cedar trees are so dense, sunlight doesn’t reach the centre of the tree and so only the outer layers are green, while the inner layers are dead and brown. ie. You can only prune a few inches off the outer layer.  Our Cedar was no exception to this, but a gentle trim wasn’t going to cut it. (no pun intended!)

When I was back home in Canada for Christmas, I paid close attention to the evergreen trees around my neighbourhood. I noticed that most of them had been pruned at the base up to a height of about 6 to 8 feet to expose the trunk. This really opens up the space below and allowed daylight to get through to the gardens beyond.

We figured we’d have a go.  We sawed off the lowest lying branches first, and then proceeded to thin out all the dead zone from around the trunk at the lower level. We still need to give the tree a light trim around the outer edges –  its still a bit wonky – but are really pleased with the result so far.  We are hoping the Euphorbia will expand to fill the gap, and may consider relocating one of our pots there once spring rolls around and we have a better idea how things all look.





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