Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Overwatering and fertilization of whiteleaf manzanita
July 27, 2007 - Hi, I have an Arctostaphylos Dr. Hurd, southern California coast, several years old, 10 feet, that has a few large branches with yellowing and spotted leaves... also dropping many. causes? remedy? sh...
view the full question and answer

Possible Herbicide Contamination of Soil
July 07, 2016 - My mother will be 80 this year and lives in Houston, Texas. She has a raised bed garden near her neighbors fence. It has been there for many years. She feels that he uses Roundup for his weeds near a...
view the full question and answer

Ground Arizona ash wood suitable for mulch?
April 23, 2015 - We cut down a 40 year old Arizona ash tree and had the stump ground into mulch. Can we use this mulch in our vegetable garden and flower beds
view the full question and answer

Problems with Strawberry Hedgehog cactus from Temple TX
June 03, 2012 - I had purchased a Strawberry hedgehog Cactus (echinocereus stramineus) a few years ago from the Wildflower Center's annual plant sale and planted it then. It has now started to brown from bottom to t...
view the full question and answer

Tip Dieback on Lonicera sempervirens
August 14, 2013 - I have a Lonicera sempervirens (coral honeysuckle) vine in Virginia which does well early in the season, but then around July, the very tips of its shoots (just the last 1-2 inches) wither, turn black...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.