Canker on my cedar?

Asked September 27, 2020, 2:04 PM EDT

About 3 years ago I started noticing Brown branches appearing on my cedar tree. I contacted a tree service and he said over the phone that he thought it had a canker. A couple years ago, I watered my newish flower bed every evening when we had that hot summer and I think that impacted my tree. The big windstorm we had recently blew most of the dead limbs off but there's still a few there. What can I do to make my tree healthy again?

Multnomah County Oregon

5 Responses

This is a difficult question to answer. It is hard to tell exactly which "cedar" it is (Western red, incense, or other) from the picture. In addition, the tree looks healthy overall with the upper 2/3s of the tree showing no problems at all. It isn't uncommon for these evergreen to start shedding branches on the lower portion of the tree as those branches get weaker from shading by the trees above. So at this point, I don't recommend any treatment beyond limb removal as needed.

I did notice that the tree seems to have grown with the two main secondary trunks starting about 5-6 feet above the ground. This is generally a weak attachment for both trunks and makes the tree vulnerable under a heavy ice or snow load to splitting at that point. That is something to talk to your arborist or tree care person about. Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me directly at Chip Bubl OSU Extension Agent/Columbia County

it's an incense cedar. It's the only tree there. On the side facing the picture (east), there was a lot of dead in the first 2/3rds of the way up but our windstorm blew the dead ones clear. Thank you for your help

I found a picture from last year looking East. The other picture was looking West. You can see that there's quite a bit of dead in there.

That picture is more helpful. It does seem to represent one of the "branch canker" diseases of Incense cedars. There are three and possibly more fungi that may play a role, either alone or sometimes together. Stress may play a part in the tree's susceptibility. Sadly, there is no fungicide treatment currently available for this disease complex and branch removal is what is normally done. Here is a link to a PNW Disease Handbook write-up on the problem:

I hope this helps you make decisions about the tree. Chip

thank you for responding so quickly. At least i know what i have for sure now