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Tuesday
Feb232010

The Tree of the Gods

Cedrus deodara is an evergreen coniferous tree native to the western Himalayas. It is the national tree of Pakistan. Its name comes from the sanskrit word "devdar", which means divine tree. Tibetan monks would travel deep into a forest of deodar cedars for meditation, and I can see how these trees would inspire spiritual thoughts. It is a magnificent tree, and I am fortunate to have a couple of different cultivars growing successfully in my yard.

This Deodar Cedar is about twenty feet tall. It has a lot of growing to do!

In its native habitat these trees can reach well over 150 feet tall, with trunks over ten feet in diameter. The larger cultivars need to be sited carefully. They need to be in a park-like setting with room to grow and spread. It is a mistake to plant one next to a house or driveway. Although evergreen, they will drop old needles, and sweeping these fine needles off a drive can be a real pain.

In North America, they will grow along the Pacific coast as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia and in the southeastern USA from Texas to Virginia. They are limited to areas with mild winters, being hardy to about zone 7, with some cultivars surviving in parts of zone 6. Some of these trees also grow in the UK. It likes neutral soil, about ph 6.6 to 7.5. The inner wood is aromatic and is used to make incense, while cedar oil is used in aromatherapy. It has a pleasant, woody odor. Insects avoid this tree, and it requires little care once established. It has average water needs and likes full sun to part shade.

The Deodar Cedar is related to the Atlas and the Cedar of Lebanon. It's easy to tell the difference. The Atlas Cedar has upright branches and the Cedar of Lebanon has horizontal branches, while the Deodar Cedar's branches are drooping. The needle-like leaves, in the various cultivars, range from bright green to gold, to glaucous blue-green. The needle-like foliage of the tree seen in the first photo of this postThe dwarf Deodar Cedar, 'Feelin' Blue', in my woodland garden is characterized by fantastic blue-green color and weeping branches. After a decade, it is about six feet tall and just as wide. This is the tree I mentioned limbing up in my last post, "Why it takes so long to get things done in my garden."From the drive, an upper view of 'Feelin' Blue' "Feelin Blue' from below, after I trimmed the lower branchesA close-up of 'Feelin' Blue' foliage

 I love this tree for its ornamental value and easy care, and my garden would not be complete without it.

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Reader Comments (16)

Deb! I'm SO happy you found my blog, Giraffe Head Tree, and I'm pleased as punch to meet you! My blog continues - I've been updating fairly regularly since the Mooresville posts. Link to my blog directly and I'll add you to my blogroll!!! http://giraffeheadtree.blogspot.com.

Great meeting you and thanks for posting something so nice on my blog! I LOVE your blog and shall continue reading through it. All the best - Debi

February 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDebi

I actually gasped a little, in a good way, when I saw the limbed up 'Feelin Blue.' SO pretty, that one. Sometimes limbing up is a good thing and sometimes it isn't, but limbing up that tree makes it look even like a miniature version of the cedar it is.

February 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

Deborah, more beautiful trees in your garden. Have we seen them all yet?

February 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah at Kilbourne Grove

The limbed up dwarf cedar is stunning. I never would have thought to do that. I would have assumed it had to remain weeping to the ground. How did you know it had that elegant form beneath it --- and how were you brave enough to chop away? A great example of how to enhance a plant that is already beautiful. Now where are my pruners?

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

'Feelin Blue' is a very pretty one, and looks great after being limbed up. It's good to learn about more of the smaller evergreens, my yard is very small and I'm always on the lookout for a small pretty conifer.

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

Deborah,
Your blue Cedar is my favorite. I really like the way it looks. Wish I could grow one here.

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersanddune

What a beautiful tree! Just love the color and the weeping from...

February 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTown Mouse

Wow Deborah another big tree - you sure have some space to grow such beauties as these trees. I sometimes see them here in garden centres and wonder if folks who buy them really realise how big they are going to get. You certainly seem to have the room to let them grow in all their splendour. :)

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosie

Deb you have such a wonderful spacious woodland garden.
I love to see the evergreen trees and especially your blue cedar.
They remind me a little of my daughter's one acre wooded garden in west Canada on Vancouver Island.
Thank you for your visits to my blog as well. Regards, Sharon.

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSharon (Canarybird)

The Feelin' Blue variety is lovely! I can easily see why you love it so much, it has such beautiful structure.

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

aloha deb,

what a wonderful post on your cedars which i love also and i'm planning on putting some in my planned japanese garden...i just need to find out which ones survive tropical and humid environments :)

nice post btw....

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternoel

nice post... i never knew that about cedars

February 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDirty Girl Gardening

Thank you so much for a post on my country's national tree. Deodar is indeed a beauty. There are lots and lots of specimens in Himalayan range and in northern areas. I am glad you are growing few in your own yard. I wish there would have more trees in our urban jungle.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermuhammad khabbab

Both of these are beautiful colors . . . I do love the blue and that it is evergreen or blue for the winter garden.

February 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCarol

Thank you for helping me identify our beautiful backyard tree in Sacramento. I was tipped off by the pine cone, and did a little research and viola! Nice photos.

December 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEllen

My Deodar was blown down 3 times in 5 years with 50-60 mph winds after having 24 hours of heavy rains. I finally staked it with 1/4 inch cable and T-posts driven almost the entire length through large-rocky soil. I left it staked for more than 10 years. It has been unstaked for over 5 years and has withstood all winds. It is almost 80 feet tall and provides beautiful shade to the south part of my house. I do have to empty the rain gutters several times during our rainy season. But I don't mind. Does anyone know a simple way to get the needles out of the lawn? I have hybrid Bermuda ... often advertized as Zogia. What a grass! It smothers every weed except clover. A little weed and feed and the clover disappears in a week. I sure would like to know an easy way to get the needles out of the grass. Any suggestions. I use a grass rake, but it takes a long time and still can't get it all. Thanks for any suggestions.
kh

May 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKitty Hawk

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