Instructions for Planting and Maintenance for a Cedar Hedge

  1. Site selection is important to consider:
    • Prior to planting, consider the height and width of the cedar at maturity. The space between cedar trees should be equal to the mature width of the plant.
    • Be sure to leave plenty of space between the plant and any buildings, sidewalks, or property lines. Do not plant cedars under other trees or powerlines.
    • Locations near water are prone to flooding and could lead to undesired outcomes.
    • The selected location should receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day.
  2. Planting a cedar:
    • Season: A cedar should be planted after the soil thaws in early spring or in the fall. Be sure to keep in mind that late heatwaves can occur during the fall and lead to damage.
    • Method: If in a plastic pot, remove the cedar from the container. If wrapped in natural burlap, plant as is. Dig a hole twice as wide and slightly deeper than the root ball. Once placed in the hole, the root ball should be level with the surface of the soil. Add soil to the bottom of the hole for adjustments. Fill in the surrounding area around the root ball with a mix of 1/3 dug-up soil, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 compost or topsoil.
  3. Maintenance of a freshly planted cedar:
    • Watering: A shallow trench should be dug in a circle around the cedar. Continue to water weekly, unless there are wet weather conditions, for a 2-to-3-week period. More frequent watering may be needed if there are dry weather conditions. Put the hose in the watering trench and allow the water to slowly flow for an hour either early in the morning or late in the day. Mulch can be added around the plant to allow better water retention.
    • Protection: A young cedar is sensitive to rodents and/or cold weather conditions and should be protected.
    • Trimming: 1 year after planting a light trim can be done to get the desired shape started. Trimming should be done in early June or in the fall. If a taller shape is desired, a few inches can be cut off the top to promote growth. The goal is to remove 1/3 – 2/3 of the current year’s shoots, with less pruning needed prior to reaching its desired size and more pruning needed when the desired shape is achieved. Pruning should be done yearly.
      • For a hedge to remain green throughout, its base should be broader than its top to allow sunlight to reach all its foliage.
      • The top should be rounded or pyramidal to prevent snow and ice accumulation at its peak.
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