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Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

Posted by tom_nwnj z6 NJ (My Page) on
Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 1:25

Hi, I have Eastern Red Cedar (middle of the first pic). Gets full sun. Probably about 35 years old. Twenty five feet tall, 18 inches at the base.

Was doing very well, until this past winter.
It is about 100' from the road, so I don't think that road salt damaged it.

It lost a lot of foliage, especially on the inside.
But now vigorous growth on the outside of all the branches.

Anybody know what caused that?
The winter was probably a few degrees colder than normal.
Will it recover?
How long can Red Cedars live?

Thanks so much for any info. It's a wild tree, but I certainy wouldn't want to lose it.

Tom


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

Actually, NJ had a warmer than normal winter state-wide. (I'm a meteorologist). There were cold periods but nothing unusual, certainly nothing unusual compared to the last 35 years.

The question which I'm curious about: Has it always been in that lawn, or have there been recent changes in the surrounding area's landscape so that it's only *now* in a lawn? Significant landscape alteration, such as the clearing of an old field and planting of a lawn, could certainly put a lot of stress on a tree.

Otherwise, the most likely culprit would be a disease or insect pest... but on that stuff, I'm no expert.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

The tree has always been there. And I am thinking it's more like 45 years old, than 35 years old. Back then it was a corn/alfalfa/hay field.(rotated). In the second pic you can see the shale rock coming up through the ground. Back then, the farmers called those "knobs". They would just go around that with the farm machinery (so as not to damage the machine). The Red Cedar germinated and grew in that part of the corn field. The farmer would just let it grow.

When we moved here in 1989, I just cut all the thorn bushes and poison ivy off of it. Then started mulching it.

No changes to anything, except I rolled the lawn this year. Also applied crabgrass pre-emergent and one app of Weed and Feed (to the grass), both at half the recommended dose.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

One more point, I did spray the base of the cedar tree with some round-up this spring, clean it up before mulching. Standard mixing as per directions: 6 ounces concentrate/gallon of water. That's it. And no wind that day.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

the RU is irrelevant.. use hundreds of gallons per year ...

this is key: lost a lot of foliage, especially on the inside.
But now vigorous growth on the outside of all the branches.

==>>> interior browning and needle shedding is NORMAL ... no conifer holds its old needles forever ... usually 1 to 3 years ... some years its just more noticeable than others ...

such is increased by transplant... or heat/drought last year ...

nothing to do.. unless you start seeing tip death.. then let us know ...

nice fairway .... its one of the biggest transitions i had from suburbia to acreage ... the long view as i call it .... if you wanted to start collecting conifers.. you could do something like that below.. in 10 years ...

ken

 photo MyChairFall2007View100407009.jpg


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

Hi Ken,

Just to add, the very kindly woman at our larger nursery store encouraged me to sprinkle some Osmocote (19-6-12) to the base of the tree. Three handfuls, I guess. It's a 4 month slow release. Any comments on that? Or better feeding routine?

I just looked at it again closely, Lots of small (3") bright green new growth. The kind you see on young junipers when they are growing.

Re: your "long view", very nice. Must give you so much enjoyment. Trees are so cool.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

With 18" diameter, its probably more in the neighborhood of 60+ yrs. old. ERC and live up to 300 yrs, but 100-150 max is more likely what it will see.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

With 18" diameter, its probably more in the neighborhood of 60+ yrs. old. ERC can live up to 300 yrs, but 100-150 max is more likely what it will see.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

that lawn looks fertilized.. if so.. what the heck else does the tree need.. especially if you mulch the grass clipping..

the old tart just wants to make her boat payment.. pshaw on her..

and for a nickle.. i will tell you how i really feel ... lol

they are nearly invasive in most areas.. and riddle me this batman.. why would a near invasive plant.. NEED TO BE FED ... they are everywhere.. w/o water.. w/o care.. and god help us.. w/o no one feeding them ...

and osmacote no less.. what.. couldn't she find a bag of gold to sell you ...

man i hate sales people ... knowledge is power.. .dont you think ....

bottom.. bottom line... IGNORE IT.. when it dies.. cut it down ... [and as noted above.. that could be in a century or two ...]

ken

ps:.. and whats next.. all the surrounding trees will need to be fed too????


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

LOL @Ken's post (tone more than content). But essentially, I agree, there's really no reason the tree should need fertilizer. Especially without much competition in that space, since lack of light is what kills ERC more often than not.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

How deep is that mulch? It may be an illusion, but it looks almost like a mulch volcano, especially on the upper side.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

Ken, yes, maybe a little over-reach on my part. The Cedars can really be almost invasive (but nowhere in the league of Ailanthus, or a one type of thorned honey locust that I have).

Years ago, I transplanted about 5 Red Cedars seedlings. A few years later there were 25 nearby. They are like the "loaves and the fishes".

But they will 'up and die" on you too, at a moments notice. They just throw a hissy fit. I had a 15 footer (that I had transplanted as a seedling) that moved into the hereafter the year after I pruned a few branches off the bottom. Or, if they don't get enough sun, same thing. But this one (picture about) gets enough sun.

Anyway, I have enough projects. Right now I have four cedars about the size of this one or larger that need to be taken down. Not looking to cut this one down, replace it.

Thanks also to brandon for commenting. But no, less than two inches of mulch on those trees. That's just the grade, an illusion.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

Clarify prior post, the apparent "mulch volcano" is rock (shale ledge) protruding. Earlier my comment, old time farmers here call it a "knob". The cedar tree found its way through the rock (or around the rock) to the soil underneath. The tree's "choice" to grow on rock spared it from the plow blade, and 40-60 years later, some guy would be putting Osmocote on it. Gotta laugh.


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

Eastern Red Cedar is quite salt tolerant, so the grass would probably brown from road salt before it did. They can live a very long time. The cold in New Jersey shouldn't bother them...they thrive in Massachusetts. I do wonder if the herbicide in the "weed and feed" and the pesticide could have hurt it. They are susceptible to Cedar Apple Rust...did you see lumpy galls that look like mushrooms? Did you have a drought?


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

I think the loss of interior growth is a result of some real good growth a few years ago and just now it's losing that growth due to age and shade. Like Ken says, some years are more noticeable than others.
I wouldn't get very close with fertilizer or weed killer, especially on the upward side. Junipers thrive on neglect and can be loved to death very easily.
Although the common name is Eastern Red Cedar, it's really a juniper and should be treated as such. Leave it alone.
The regular posters on this forum are lusting for all the unused space you have.
Mike


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RE: Eastern Red Cedar very stressed

Just a reminder, don't mulch with grass treated with Weed N' Feed. I mulched some azaleas with some 'donated' grass clippings and found out after they died that the grass had been treated with a broad leaf weed killer and then mowed. 48 azaleas in a raised bed became history just like that.
Treated with RoundUp is fine and won't hurt a thing.
You should take up golf. ;-)
Mike


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