Preparing a Young Atlas Cedar

KP45

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Hi!

I bought an Atlas Cedar just a little while back. I've wanted one for a really long time so when I saw this one in a garden center I picked one up.

As it is it's pretty skinny, no trunk taper to speak of, I'm finding it a little hard to envision what the tree could potentially become. Was wondering if anyone had any experience with these and had any ideas on next steps to take with this tree? I've only taken photos from one side because it's also pretty two dimensional. The trunk base starts at about three quarters of an inch, and the grow box is 17"x17" for reference.

Apparently they prefer to be repotted during the heat of summer, so I've made a grow box to put it in as I don't have any space to put it into the ground anywhere. I'm wondering if based on anybody's experience here I should also be looking to wire new leaders, removing branches to prevent inverse taper from now etc etc. (IMG 9473 shows where I'm concerned about inverse taper starting

I know I'll need to be patient with it for a long time and let it grow, but I don't want to miss any steps that could turn it into a really great tree.

Thanks!

KP

IMG_9470.JPGIMG_9471.JPGIMG_9473.JPGIMG_9474.JPGIMG_9475.JPG
 

jimib

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I never heard of them being repotted in the middle of summer. But I haven’t read everything about them. I repotted mine in March, still winter here, cutting off about 50% of the root ball. I got from a trusted source that if the root tips are white you may lose the needles, but it should bounce back. I was concerned about this, but my roots were still dark And it didn’t lose anything, and rebounded quite nicely.
 

penumbra

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Hard call. I have killed a couple. I can never find Atlas Cedars this well branched. Looks promising.
 

KP45

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I never heard of them being repotted in the middle of summer. But I haven’t read everything about them. I repotted mine in March, still winter here, cutting off about 50% of the root ball. I got from a trusted source that if the root tips are white you may lose the needles, but it should bounce back. I was concerned about this, but my roots were still dark And it didn’t lose anything, and rebounded quite nicely.
Thanks, I thought it a little odd too, and I couldn't find any information on where the person who made the post was located, apparently something to do with the summer temperatures where these trees grow in the Atlas Mountains can get quite hot- perhaps they have a dormant period in summer? I suppose that maybe wouldn't apply here in the UK. I think I'll check for any white tips on the roots like you suggest and decide from there, possibly just repot next spring if I have any doubts.

Hard call. I have killed a couple. I can never find Atlas Cedars this well branched. Looks promising.
Thanks, I was surprised to find one near me at all. Hopefully I don't make a mess of it!
 

JudyB

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Do NOT repot his tree in the summer, I don’t think it would survive. Do it early in the spring, before the roots start to grow but after frosts. Protect if you get a late frost or two. If you see white tips growing when you pull it out, you can either wait a year, and try to get it earlier next time or go ahead and do the repot. If the root work is heavy and lots of white tips are present, the tree will likely blow all the needles off, but if the tree is healthy, it will put out all new buds and needle whorls. I think you should look at putting movement into the trunk with wire this year and repot next spring.
 

0soyoung

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Do not report this tree in the summer, I don’t think it would survive.
Unless you are me or maybe unless you live in my magical climate. :D

Seriously, it will be just fine, just about anytime after the summer solstice. The new foliage will be hardened and as productive as any foliage ever gets to power root recovery. Most all conifers, including Atlas cedar, are very good at limiting moisture loss by simply closing their stomata. Waxy leafed angiosperms, such as azaleas, chaenomeles, are also repottable in summer through early fall. I (of no renown) infamously prefer repotting all these species around 6 weeks after the summer solstice.
 

KP45

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Do NOT repot his tree in the summer, I don’t think it would survive. Do it early in the spring, before the roots start to grow but after frosts. Protect if you get a late frost or two. If you see white tips growing when you pull it out, you can either wait a year, and try to get it earlier next time or go ahead and do the repot. If the root work is heavy and lots of white tips are present, the tree will likely blow all the needles off, but if the tree is healthy, it will put out all new buds and needle whorls. I think you should look at putting movement into the trunk with wire this year and repot next spring.
Okay great, I'm not even going to bother checking this summer then, I'll just wait until next year instead. I have an area I can put the tree to protect it from late frosts too so I'll do that. Do you see anything in the trunk that jumps out at you in terms of which way to wire it? I think I'll have to mess about with it in photoshop and see what I can come up with. I think those short branches midway through the trunk are throwing me off. Thank you for your reply!
 

KP45

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Unless you are me or maybe unless you live in my magical climate. :D

Seriously, it will be just fine, just about anytime after the summer solstice. The new foliage will be hardened and as productive as any foliage ever gets to power root recovery. Most all conifers, including Atlas cedar, are very good at limiting moisture loss by simply closing their stomata. Waxy leafed angiosperms, such as azaleas, chaenomeles, are also repottable in summer through early fall. I (of no renown) infamously prefer repotting all these species around 6 weeks after the summer solstice.
Ah thank you, that explains why I saw it suggested in a couple of places. Glad to know there's some explanation behind doing it this way :) Suddenly I'm conflicted again as to whether or not to try it. Perhaps I'll buy a second tree and trial both methods, also see how far I can push things (before I've invested any number of years into either)
 

Shibui

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One of our best cedrus growers over here said that mid summer is the best time to repot cedars. His claim was that they do not drop needles when root pruned at that time of year.
Many other species can also be root pruned in summer. Most of our Australian natives and many tropicals die when root pruned in cold winter or the usual early spring but thrive when repotted in warmer weather. I repot most of my Aussie natives when they are actively growing in late spring here - no problem so far.
 

KP45

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One of our best cedrus growers over here said that mid summer is the best time to repot cedars. His claim was that they do not drop needles when root pruned at that time of year.
Many other species can also be root pruned in summer. Most of our Australian natives and many tropicals die when root pruned in cold winter or the usual early spring but thrive when repotted in warmer weather. I repot most of my Aussie natives when they are actively growing in late spring here - no problem so far.
Thanks! Okay I think that settles things- I'll be going out tomorrow to purchase a second tree. I'll see how one responds to being repotted in the height of summer here (around mid-July)- that way I can let you all know how it goes too. Based on that I'll be better informed about what to do the year after with the other tree. I'm assuming wiring the other tree in the meantime won't do much harm.

Will checking the roots around that time in summer for any white growing tips still be a useful tip-off as to how successful the repot will be? Or do roots have white growing tips from spring all the way through until the weather gets colder?
 

Adair M

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Wire the trunk with HEAVY COPPER wire, and bend it, twist it, any way you like it! The wood is very sappy and will try to return to its original position. It will simply overpower aluminum over time.
 

KP45

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Wire the trunk with HEAVY COPPER wire, and bend it, twist it, any way you like it! The wood is very sappy and will try to return to its original position. It will simply overpower aluminum over time.
Thanks for mentioning this, currently I only have aluminium wire, so I was setting myself up for frustration. That's something else I'll need to buy. This will also be my first real attempt at wiring too, I've watched a lot of videos and I think I can remember all the fundamentals... but we'll see what happens when it comes to actually doing it in practice.
 

KP45

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Note, my summers are relatively mild, especially when compared to Texas. I learned many years ago that I can get away with repotting conifers pretty much anytime after summer solstice. Except larch.
Summers here have been typically pretty mild too, although in the past few years there have been waves of much higher than normal temperatures for a week or a few days here and there. I think by late July (solstice is toward the end of June I think) I might be safe to experiment with a re-pot on one of the cedars. Worst case scenario, I learn something. Thanks for your reply!
 

KP45

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Okay, so I went and bought a second tree this morning and noticed something on all of the ones that were there... they're grafted. I really like the angles in the trunk and the branches on the second tree so I went ahead and bought it anyway. (IMG 9476 and 9477)

So naturally I took another look at the one I have at home too, and I'm not sure how I missed it but that one is grafted too, albeit very tidily. (IMG 9478)

I think I may try to use a tourniquet and ground layer both trees a little way up from the graft. I'm guessing that should also put me better on the way to a more manageable root system if it works out? Can I just wrap wire around a couple of times so it won't heal back over?

IMG_9476.JPGIMG_9477.JPGIMG_9478.JPG
 

jimib

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Brent has some good info on his website evergreengardenworks.com about cedars for bonsai.
 

KP45

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Brent has some good info on his website evergreengardenworks.com about cedars for bonsai.
Perfect, thank you very much. I think I'll be trying some new things (new for me at least) on these trees based on the messages here and what I've been reading elsewhere on the internet. I'll give it a go and see what happens.
 

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