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Deodar Cedar Adds Grace to Landscape

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Cedrus deodara Todd Lasseigne

Todd Lasseigne

The Deodar cedar, Cedrus deodara, is one of the most graceful cedars, ­especially in youth, and has become a favorite among homeowners and landscapers. The tree is broadly pyramidal with graceful pendulous branches that become wide-spreading and flat-topped in old age.

The tree’s fine, textured foliage ranges from light blue to grayish green to silvery in color. The cones are 3 to 4 inches long by approximately 3 inches broad on short branchlets. The Deodar grows about 2 feet in a year when young. If root pruned, the Deodar transplants easily. The tree prefers a well drained, somewhat dry, sunny location and protection from sweeping winds.

There are many evergreen nurseries that have expanded their catalog lists to include C. deodara cultivars. Three interesting cultivars are ‘Kashmir’, a hardy form with silvery blue-green foliage that can withstand temperature drops to below zero; ‘Kingsville’, similar to ‘Kashmir’ but possibly hardier; and ‘Shalimar’, which boasts good blue-green color, excellent hardiness and grows 9 to 15 feet in 10 years from a cutting.

Cedrus deodara Todd Lasseigne

Todd Lasseigne

Due to its fine, textured foliage, Deodar cedar allows light and water to penetrate the grass or groundcovers that grow below. The few needles that drop are easy to clean up. You don’t have to worry about solid mats of fallen leaves that may threaten to smother other plants. Deodar cedar is a good substitute for the white pine but is subject to cold injury in zone 6.

The Deodar cedar is well represented at the JC Raulston Arboretum. Look for over 30 different cultivars within their collections, ranging from those with a prostrate habit, to those with a bluish cast to their foliage, to those exhibiting pendulous, drooping branches. This is truly one species with tremendous possibilities for the landscape!