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Mr. Smarty Plants - Propagation of cedar cuttings in Manitoba

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Saturday - March 14, 2009

From: Hadashville, Manitoba
Region: Canada
Topic: Propagation
Title: Propagation of cedar cuttings in Manitoba
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How to propagate cedar cuttings to form a hedge?

ANSWER:

Sometimes before we answer a question, we have to be sure what is being asked. There are three different trees that are referred to as "cedars" and we're not sure which one you are interested in.The supposedly "true" cedar is of the genus Cedrus, of which Cedrus atlantica is an example. It is a native of the Atlas Mountains in northern Africa and has a USDA Plant Hardiness of Zones 6 to 9. The next tree often referred to as "cedar" is Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae), which is native to North America and to Manitoba. The third cedar is Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) which is also native to North America and to Manitoba. This Tree Help.com website Cedar and Arborvitae compares the three in pictures.

At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are focused on the use and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Plants native to an area will be adapted to the climate, rainfall and soils of that area, and thus need less fertilizer, water and maintenance. Since both arborvitae and eastern red cedar are native to Manitoba, we are going to look for recommendations on propagation by cuttings on those trees. Ordinarily, propagation of woody plants is done much the same way, regardless of species, so that is what we will explore. If you follow the links above to our webpage on each individual plant, you will see that the propagation method suggested is by seed; however, taking cuttings is also a possibility, and might give you quicker results for your planned hedge. 

The propagation instructions on our website for Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) are:

Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Seed can be sown outdoors in fall or stratified and sown in spring. Seed germination is often poor, so a large quantity of seeds should be sown. Selected forms have been rooted from cuttings.
Seed Collection: Collect seeds from late summer through fall when it has turned its ripe color. Thoroughly dry and clean seeds to avoid mold and overheating. If not planting immediately, air dry before storing. Store in sealed containers at 20-40 degrees.
Seed Treatment: Stratify at 41 degrees for 30-120 days. 

Gardener's Network Arborvitae has specific propagation suggestions for that plant. UBC Botanical Gardens discusses Propagating arborvitae under lights.

This University of Missouri Extension website Home Propagation of Garden and Landscape Plants gives a very complete explanation of the options available when propagating woody plants by cuttings.  For arborvitae semi-hardwood and hardwood cuttings are suggested. For eastern red cedar, hardwood cuttings and layering are recommended.

Obviously, there are a number of different ways to propagate plants for your hedge; you can select the one that is most practical for your purposes. 


Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus virginiana

Thuja occidentalis

Thuja occidentalis

 

 

 

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