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

Leaves dropping on native Texas Mountain Laurel in San Antonio
September 20, 2008 - Please help. We have a beautiful TX Mountain Laurel in our front yard. This year the leaves are dropping like snow in the north. What do you think is wrong with our tree?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty of watering at drip line of trees from The Woodlands TX
August 18, 2011 - I'm watering my couple dozen native mature trees to make sure they survive this drought and its aftermath..and I'm reading about how to water at the drip line. But..all of my trees' drip lines ext...
view the full question and answer

Water eroding corner in Austin
October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
view the full question and answer

Why are the leaves of my century plants yellowing?
June 22, 2009 - I am taking care of the Agaves (century plants) for my condo community here in Austin. They are planted in 18" or 20" pots. A couple of the plants have leaves that are yellowing around the bottom....
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center