When to Prune Blue Atlas Cedar?

Updated March 23, 2017

The blue atlas cedar is a fast-growing conifer, hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 6 through 9. A beautiful tree that can grow to 60 feet in height, the blue atlas cedar is suitable for espalier in smaller gardens.

Time Frame

Prune your blue atlas cedar tree in late winter to early spring prior to new growth. If you live in an area with late frosts, it's better to wait until closer to the last frost to prune.


Look for winter-burnt areas of the tree on your first pass with the pruning equipment. Cut back burnt and dead branches to healthy foliage or wood. Then you can prune for shape and size.


Pruning the blue atlas cedar tree requires the use of a pole pruner, a hand saw for branches up to 4 inches in diameter and lopping shears for branches up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Make sure that all the equipment is freshly sharpened to avoid crushing the wood and setting up conditions ideal for boring insects.

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About the Author

Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at,,, RE/,,, and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.