Leaderless Deodora cedar

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Leaderless Deodora cedar

Post by rmazza » Fri Feb 22, 2013 12:27 pm

My question concerns how I should go about pruning the top of this Cedar in order to reestablish a leader.
I planted this Deodora about 3 years ago. It greens up in the spring and otherwise looks healthy, but the top which is about 14 ft from the ground flooped over the first year after I planted it. So the last 3 years it has not put on any height ? The top is about 1.5 feet in lenght but almost looks like a shepards crook.
This is not a weeping deodora, it had an up right leader when I bought it.
I had a similar experience with a Blue Atlas cedar that I planted at my old place. I planted 4 : 14 to 18 footers and ended up selling the place a few years after that. One of the 4 's top just sort of bent over , the tree looking otherwise healthy. I recently returned to the yard and was amazed to see that the other trees are now considerably higher (10 to 12 ft higher) while this one tree, while a bit fuller has put on very little to no height at all. (This is after 6 ot 7 years)
I'm curious as to what may have caused this condition, and how I maybe able to remedy this.

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Re: Leaderless Deodora cedar

Post by lorijones » Fri Feb 22, 2013 4:58 pm

Is your tree planted in a lawn area where it is getting hit with some high nitrogen lawn fertilizer? Sometimes this problem occurs when the tree is over fertilized and gets too much nitrogen. The leader may grow very quickly and then flop over under its own weight. Is it possible to attach a picture?
The best thing to do is to tip the leader back to a young side branch just below where it is bent over. One of the side branches can then become the new leader. If you get more than one branch competing to become the new leader, choose the strongest one and prune out the others. A mineralizer like Rich Earth can really help with the overall health of the tree. Fertilize with an organic fertilizer like Holly-tone in the fall.

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