En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - July 18, 2011

From: Bayfield, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Watering, Trees
Title: Cedar trees dying in CO
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We have mature cedar trees at the home we bought in SW Colorado. The large ones have begun to die. Can too much water kill a cedar tree and is there anything I can do to keep them alive?

ANSWER:

The use of the common name "cedar" in North America refers to either Red cedar (which is actually a Juniper),  Northern White cedar (which is also known as arborvitae) or Atlantic White cedar (which is a cypress). None of our native cedars are actually of the genus Cedrus but were commonly called that by European settlers because their aromatic wood is like the cedars of the Old World.

The cedars which are native to Colorado (and yours would be one of these) are:

Juniperus scopulorum (Rocky mountain juniper) and

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)

If you click on these links to the detailed plant information pages, you will see that both plants thrive in dry, sandy or rocky, caliche type soils.

So yes, too much water can kill a cedar tree, if it is actually a juniper (the eastern cedars actually thrive in wet conditions; some are commonly called swamp cedars).  According to our Native Plant database, Rocky Mountain cedar "does not adapt to high humidity or high night temperatures. It is susceptible to juniper blight and serves as an alternate host for cedar apple rust."

So you could be dealing with one of these problems.  We recommend you contact your local agricultural extension service or an arborist for an accurate diagnosis and a recommendation for treatment.

 

More Watering Questions

List of plants that tolerate
May 11, 2014 - Could I get a list of "grey water" tolerant shrubs/evergreens/etc? *Full sun
view the full question and answer

Esperanza failing to bloom in Odessa TX
September 01, 2009 - I have 3 Esperanza plants that have not bloomed this spring/summer. I live in Odessa, TX. We had about 5 inches of rain in July in one week (very unusual), but they have not bloomed-before or after. ...
view the full question and answer

protecting native trees during drought
June 07, 2011 - We are very concerned about our mature live oaks and cedar elms because they are so stressed due to the drought. We have lost several of our mountain juniper and I really don't want to lose our more...
view the full question and answer

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Brown, dry leaves on weeping willow tree
May 01, 2008 - We live in central TX and have just planted a weeping willow tree. Our back yard has a retention pond and ravine that parallels our property and we were told that the weeping willow will do perfectly ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center