A lovely ornamental centrepiece for any landscape, weeping blue Atlas cedars are drought-resistant, pest-resistant and tough as nails. Properly trained, pruned and supported, they can grow remarkably graceful limbs, 6 to 8 feet horizontally, spilling delicate, needled branches to the ground like a blue curtain. If you've noticed needle drop or wilting in those bright-blue, pendulous branches, it's time to take action.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Garden gloves
- Pruning shears
- Fine mesh screen
- Plant ties
Check for pests, though you're not likely to find them. Weeping blue Atlas cedar is not normally vulnerable to insects or fungus. Look for tiny holes in the bark of the trunk. The yellow-bellied sapsucker has a fondness for this tree and can drill lots of small holes. Discourage these birds by wrapping the trunk with fine mesh screening secured with plant ties, and the problem will subside.
Look for holes in the ground near the roots. A burrowing animal may be chewing on the roots of your blue Atlas cedar and causing the branches to wilt. If you find evidence of a groundhog or woodchuck, plug the hole with a stone and call an exterminator or trapper.
Check for soil condition and overcrowding. This powdery-blue cedar grows best when given plenty of room, sun and deep, well-drained soil. Like most cedars, weeping blue Atlas does not like wet feet. Amend clay-based soil with two parts sand and peat to one part clay to increase soil acidity and improve drainage. Transplant or remove plantings closer than 4 feet from the tree to promote good air circulation.
Water to a depth of one foot in times of drought. Pour water from a bucket directly at the base of the tree and radiating outward to ensure that the water gets directly to the root system. Avoid watering if rain is frequent, as overwatering can also cause wilt.
Prune away dead or severely wilted branches to lighten the load and improve air circulation, especially if your climate is humid. Do not do major pruning or training of branches until the fall, when the tree is dormant and stops trying to push out new growth.
Create shelter from strong winds and cold.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure the horizontal growth of your weeping blue Atlas cedar is properly supported with stakes and ties. These trees eventually crown and grow wide instead of tall, which can place a lot of stress on the trunk.
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