Ground Planting Cedars

Nick4

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Hi guys, I am new here, and also pretty new to Bonsai as well. I had several "mallsai," or in my case "fairsai" as I bought them at a fair, for several years until I decided to really jump in with both feet about 2 years ago. I found Brent over at Evergreen Gardenworks and purchased quite a few trees to get started with. Of course I then realized this was going at it a bit backwards since it was going to be a while before I could really work with them. Anyway, all of them have now been planted in my backyard, and are doing very well, along with several others I have bought from Brent over the last year or so.
The only tree I haven't put in the ground yet is my Cedrus brevifolia (Cedar of Cyprus). This is a beautiful tree, although still quite small. I want to plant it along with the others to grow it out a bit, but I have read the cedars need full sun (I am in Oklahoma, and sun is not a problem) and a sandy, well draining soil. Well, as mentioned, I am in Oklahoma and after about 6-10in down in my backyard I hit very hard packed dirt and clay. Is this going to be a problem? And if so, how can I work around it? I considered digging down quite deeper than needed and replacing some sand along with the dirt when I plant the tree. Will this even work? Any ideas would be welcome, I really like this tree and do not want to lose it, but I do want it to grow up some.
Thanks for any input, sorry about the long post on my first ever here.
-Nick
 

Dav4

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Probably the best thing to do if you have poor soil/poor drainage is to use raised beds for your planted trees. This ensures improved drainage, as well as good soil for the roots to grow into. They are easily made. you can either make a square border with wood stock and fill the interior with your improved soil or you can just mound the soil on the ground. You can probably get much more info by doing a search on google. One other option would be to plant the cedar in a wooden grow box...the growth won't be as vigorous as in-ground planting, but much better then in a pot. Good luck,

Dave
 
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Brent

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Nick

I think you are better off using increasingly larger containers for your Cedrus brevifolia. With the exception of C. deodara, I find root work on Cedrus species difficult, and I have heard the same from others. Any massive amount of root work on one greatly increases the chance of mortality. Of course, removal from the ground is very traumatic. I have had the best success with root work and repotting when dealing with them before they get rootbound. Shifting them to increasingly larger pots as soon as they root colonize avoids this problem and allows you to get a little root work done each time. Cedars grow very quickly in pots and as long as you keep shifting them up, you can have a decent trunk in five to seven years.

I would appreciate any insight that others may have on this Cedrus root work issue since what I have heard so far is quite contradictory.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

Attila Soos

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Cedrus atlantica and Cedrus libanii are the most sensitive to root work, in my experience. Every time I planted these into the ground for a few years, and then re-located them into pots, it was a disaster, most of them dying. Now I plant them into pond baskets and bury the baskets into the ground, so that when the time comes to dig them out, I just shave off the roots outside the basket, the rootball remaining undisturbed.

I had no problem with Cedrus deodara and Cedrus brevifolia, I haven't lost any to digging or rootwork. This doesn't mean that they are easy, compared to the other popular species used for bonsai, they still require exceptional precaution and care.

After many years of consistently having problems with atlantica and libanii, and having little problems with deodara and brevifolia, I can safely conclude that the difference in difficulty is not a result of a fluke or a mistake, but it is inherent to the species.
 
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Bob

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Nick, can brevifolia survive your Oklahoma winters? The three that I had here in Pennsylvania did not make it.
 

Nick4

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Thanks a ton everyone for the replies. As I said, I am pretty new at really taking bonsai seriously and have a ton of questions. Unfortunately, my work schedule pretty much makes it impossible to join the local bonsai club, or at least to make the meetings with any regularity.
Anyhow, I will look into making some raised beds in the backyard. My yard is pretty small, and I finally decided the hell with it, so what if it looks like a mini tree farm?
Brent, thanks for the suggestion, that will be my course of action with this tree. Also, thanks for the trees! I will be getting more very soon.
Bob, the tree has made it through 2 winters without a problem. Oklahoma does get cold but we rarely, or at least in slightly-south/central Oklahoma, have long periods of sub freezing weather. So far, I just leave my trees outside until there is a chance it will go below 25, then bring them into the garage for the night, and put them back out in the morning. I am willing to bet there is a better way to be overwintering my trees, but I haven't killed anything yet. And for a newbie, thats not too bad, right? Of course, with a lot of my trees now being in the ground, I might have more to think about next winter.
 
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