Cryptomeria Gardening Guide

Japanese cryptomeria is a beautiful evergreen with an attractive pyramid shape and feathery, bluish-green foliage that sometimes turns bronze in the winter. It is sometimes called Japanese Cedar, which is a misnomer, as it is not actually a cedar at all.

Most cryptomeria trees will reach heights of 60 feet or more, with a spread of 25 to 30 feet, although there are smaller cultivars available. For all of its beauty, it is a relatively easy-to-grow tree. It thrives in a wide range of soil types, tolerates moderate winds and tends to grow quickly. Here are some tips for growing cryptomeria in your yard.

Choosing a Location
Cryptomeria trees prefer a sunny location, but they can handle some shade. They grow best in an area with moist, rich soil, although they will tolerate other types of soil as well. Since your cryptomeria will grow to be quite large, be sure to allow plenty of clearance near buildings, power lines and other trees. When planted in rows, cryptomeria make an unusual and attractive privacy screen or tall hedge.

Planting
Begin by digging a hole in your desired location at least twice the size of your tree's root ball. Before placing your tree in the hole, carefully loosen the roots with your fingers. Backfill with soil, and water deeply. Place a good layer of mulch around the tree, to help retain moisture and control weeds.

Maintenance and Care
As your tree's root system is getting established, you will need to keep it watered very well. Once it is established, it will still need supplemental water in times of drought or whenever conditions are very dry. You can fertilize you tree every couple of years, but be sure to apply fertilizer early in the growing season. Crytomeria does require regular pruning, both for shaping and to keep the tree healthy by allowing light and air to circulate through the inner branches. This type of regular pruning can help your tree avoid fungal and pest problems.

Cryptomeria is an attractive alternative to more common types of evergreens. With very little care, it will add lovely color and interest to your landscape year round.

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