Last year we purchased a home on the north end of Yachats. On our lot there is a strip of land about 70 feet wide by 215 feet long that were clearing of brush. I'd like to get about 20 cedar tree starts to plant. What type of cedar should I look for? Were about 1200 feet from shore. There is a dozen spruce trees about 50-60 feet tall on the strip. They don't look very good but i really don't want to cut them down. If i remove lower branches will this benefit the trees? Thank you for your time and help. Dennis Rupp
Lincoln County Oregon
Thank you for your questions and congratulations on your new home! Yachats is such a beautiful area and it sounds like you have a great place to plant some new trees.
Since you are interested in planting cedar, I would recommend planting western redcedar, as it is one of Oregon's native conifers and should do well on the site that you described. One concern about redcedar is that it is subject to heavy browsing, or feeding, by deer and elk, especially along the coast. Mylar mesh screens can be purchased to protect your seedlings, and can be an effective deterrent. In some cases, however, deer and elk can still trample on and knock over your seedlings. You may want to check in with your neighbors or those nearby who may be willing to share some of their strategies for deterring browse.
I am attaching a couple of resources for you that can help you with planting efforts. The first one is "The Care and Planting of Tree Seedlings on Your Woodland" that covers seedling care, planting seedlings, and has a great section on resources for more help/information. The next one is "Successful Reforestation: An Overview", that covers site preparation, obtaining and planting seedlings, site maintenance, and sources of financial help. Another fantastic resources is the Learning Library, found here at Know Your Forests: https://knowyourforest.org/learning-library.
Lastly, as a new forest woodland owner, I encourage you to consider joining your local Lincoln County Small Woodland Association, https://www.oswa.org/blog/lincoln/. From their website, OSWA is an organization made up of Oregon small woodland owners who practice and believe in: the strength of peer to peer communication between landowners; the strength of a unified effort to address legislative and regulatory challenges; and the strength of partnerships in addressing and solving common problems. They are a great group!
Regarding your Sitka spruce, you are most likely witnessing defoliation by the spruce aphid. This insect pest is in outbreak stage currently, and is responsible for defoliating spruce along the coast from Lincoln CO on up to Clatsop, and further north into Washington. Trees are expected to recover as long as they maintain tufts of needles. For this reason, I wouldn't worry about pruning those lower branches. Natural enemies, like other insects and birds, are strong regulators of the aphid population size. Pesticides are not recommended for treating this pest since they will also kill the natural enemies. Timing and cost of treatment are a couple of other reasons why pesticides are not recommended. I attached the Pest Note for spruce aphid for your information.
I wish you the best of luck with your planting efforts! I am the Extension Forester for Lincoln County, so please do not hesitate to reach out to me personally for more information and assistance.