When Can I Trim a Deodar Cedar Tree?
Unlike deciduous trees, cedars and other evergreen conifer trees typically need pruning only when their branches have been broken or damaged. If you prune your cedar properly when it is young, trimming it will likely be unnecessary when it matures. In deciding when to prune, the pruning goal and the time of year is more important than whether it is a hot or cold day.
Pruning to Thicken Cedar Foliage
Cedars are random-branched conifers as opposed to firs, pines and spruces, whose branches grow in spirals. To thicken the canopy of a cedar or other random-branched conifer, prune it in early spring. The new growth will mask the wounds you make by pruning. Whether it is a hot or cold day is irrelevant.
Pruning to Maintain Size
Pruning the interior of a cedar carefully to limit its size is best done in early to mid-summer when the weather is typically hot. Do not prune in late summer or early autumn because pruning can stimulate new growth that will not have time to turn hard before the freezing autumn or winter weather.
Pruning Broken Branches
If the branches of your cedar are broken by a storm or accident, prune it immediately; never mind the time of year. Infection on the tree and damage to your property from falling branches can occur in any season, so don’t wait for hotter or cooler weather to take care of the situation.
Pruning to Limit Height
Removing the crown or top of a cedar will destroy its beauty. While you can prune one-third of the top part of a cedar crown in the summer, do not prune the lower part. Select a cedar that fits your space. The deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara), known for its drooping branches, grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 to 9. While the deodar cedar can grow up to 150 feet tall, the cultivar “Pendula” (Cedrus deodora “Pendula”) only grows 10 feet high. The graceful, rich green western red cedar (Thuja plicata) will grow from 50 to 80 feet high in USDA zones 5 to 8. The Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) grows 40 to 60 feet tall in a Christmas tree pyramid form when it is young, but it grows horizontal branches at the top of its crown as it matures. It will grow in USDA zones 6 to 9.