Improving cedar/redwood trees near property line

Asked January 6, 2014, 1:36 PM EST

Neighbor and I want to improve property line. Want better screen and keep growth in control. When I planted little starts 30 years ago, I think I ended up with combo of cedar and redwood trees. Does attached image show that? Also several dead branches on the redwood? trees...is that blight? Risk to other trees for disease? I couldn't figure out how to send additional pictures that I have. Can send more if you would like to see the problem in greater detail. But thinking of doing the following: 1. Remove the 3 larger redwood? trees. Gets rid of possible blight problem and creates more room for other cedar trees. 2. Do light side pruning of cedars to get them to fill in. Is now a good time to prune cedars? Could I prune yet in late April...is that before spring growth? 3. Neighbor is offering to buy replacement shrubs/trees to fill in, but put on my property. Do you think some pyramidal arbrovitae would work? Or too much competition for sun and nutrients from cedars? Would a couple more cedars be better in gaps created when I remove the redwoods(?). Your advise on above stategy, and timing to prune remaining cedars?

Washington County Oregon

4 Responses

Hello,
From the photo, I don't believe those are redwoods. It looks to me like you have two kinds of "cedar" (I use quotations because neither is a true cedar): western redcedar and either Port-Orford-cedar or (possibly) Incense cedar. Here is a link to descriptions/photos of these species for you to compare:
western redcedar, Thuja plicata: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/3plants.htm#thpl
Port-Orford-cedar: Chamaecyparis lawsoniana: http://oregonstate.edu/dept/ldplants/1plants.htm#chla

If Port-Orford-cedar, then probably the cause of the dead branches is a Phytopthora root disease (Port-Orford-cedar root rot). It is a common reason for these trees to die, but fortunately the western redcedars are not going to be affected by this disease. Although I can't confirm definitively from a photo, that's really what it looks like to me. It is very likely that the remaining Port-Orfords will eventually get it, so removing them gradually or all at once is likely in the cards.

My expertise is in forestry, not horticulture. So I can't speak with authority on the suitability of pyramidal arborvitae but if it is rated as shade tolerant then it seems like planting in the gaps would be okay. Winter is a good time to be pruning. Late April would not be ideal. However it seems like the trees are already pretty big to be pruning to get them to fill out. Again, I'm not a horticulturist. After taking out the Port-Orford-Cedars (if that's what they are), you will have a better sense of the available space to fill and whether you want to plant a new tree or let the remaining ones grow together.

Amy, thank you. I am going to post 3 more images to see if you still think they are Port Orford cedars. In any case, I will remove that species and research suitable replacement. And hope that, with some light pruning, I can get some more side growth with western red cedars. And then let add a couple more western red cedars or pyramidal arbrovitae depending on preference of neighbor.

Amy, thank you. I am going to post 3 more images to see if you still think they are Port Orford cedars. In any case, I will remove that species and research suitable replacement. And hope that, with some light pruning, I can get some more side growth with western red cedars. And then let add a couple more western red cedars or pyramidal arbrovitae depending on preference of neighbor.

Thanks for the additional pictures. I am confident they are Port Orford cedars. I've attached a photo that shows the foliage and the cones of the three "cedars". Looking at the shape of the cones is often the easiest way to tell them apart. Good luck with your trees.