Cedar Bare Spots


Q: Hello, we have 2 very tall cedars (column?) in front of our house. I had to severely prune back the shrub that was in the middle, and now there are large bare spots showing where the cedars were pressed against this shrub. Will this start to grow back now? Is there anything I can do? Pruning? Fertilizer?

Yours is not an uncommon problem. Cedars can be burdened with bare spots for a number of reasons. No matter how or where the bare spots are on your cedar, there are actions that you can take to repair and improve the aesthetics of the plant.

Firstly you should definitely keep hedging cedars trimmed regularly. The sides as well as the top need at least an annual pruning. This will keep them relatively rigid to prevent some of the problems that can be caused by snow load during the winter months. A secondary shearing in late summer is very beneficial. Also ensure that no other plant material grows up to and against your hedging cedars as a lack of light or complete sheltering of any of the plant will kill those specific areas. Any area of the hedging that have had limited or no light for a period of 6 months or long may never regenerate growth. Regenerating growth from mature stems within the tree is unlikely.

The only option that you may possibly have success with is a reconfiguration of the branching. Using, “Vinyl Tie”, “Stretch tie” or similar pliable stretch material you can manipulate the branching and move the branches by redirecting and securing it to other branches within the tree with one of the above mentioned products. This product is strong enough to hold branching yet is pliable so as not to girdle or strangle any branches that you secure as those branches grow. I have in the past quite aggressively pulled and secured branches with an end result a complete repair and fill of the bare spots.