En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Cedar trees dying in CO

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 Diseases and Disorders Questions

Failure to flourish of Trumpet Creeper in Leesburg VA
June 28, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Late last year I planted a trumpet creeper vine to grow on my fence and attract hummingbirds. It gets full sun, is in average soil and gets adequate water. I put a few daylilli...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting care of Mayten tree (Maytenus sp.)
November 06, 2007 - I planted a Mayten tree 2 years ago. It's about 8 feet tall. The trunk is about 1-1/2 or 2" in diameter. The earth around it sunk and now there is a "bowl" that fills with water in the rain. I...
view the full question and answer

Growing Dwarf Yaupon Holly in Texas
December 04, 2013 - We planted 10 extra dwarf yaupons in our Austin front yard. They were identified as 'Gremici' dwarf yaupon. I googled them to get more information about them in order to determine why five have di...
view the full question and answer

Oak sap dripping on driveway in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Why would oak sap be dripping on driveway at this time when other oaks the neighbors have are not.
view the full question and answer

Peeling bark on red oak in Plano, TX
April 08, 2010 - I have a red oak that was planted 2 years ago. The trunk is approx. 5 in around. The bark around the bottom of the trunk is peeling off. At first we thought it was rabbits so we put some rabbit gua...
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