Watering Western Red Cedar correctly is the single most important element in caring and maintaining a Western Red Cedar hedge or specimen plant.
Watering Western Red Cedar: Water-Logging
It is important not to confuse damp, moist – even boggy – soil with water-logged soil. Western Red Cedar will tolerate the former but, like the vast majority of hedging plants, will succumb to the latter. Western Red Cedars need well-draining soil. If the results of excessive rain or over-watering cannot drain away, the roots will rot and the plant will die.
However, drought, as we will shortly see, is equally dangerous. Diagnosis is not helped by Nature making the symptoms of both problems annoyingly similar. Wilting, dying or dead foliage is as likely to indicate one as the other. Fortunately, knowing the recent weather and your own watering activity will provide the necessary clues.
Watering Western Red Cedar: Drought
Western Red Cedar is drought tolerant but the stress from drought is accumulative and if it is sustained, even intermittently over a number of seasons, it will, like most other plants, eventually succumb.
The good news, though, is that Western Red Cedar has built-in protection. If drought does become problematic, older foliage and twigs will turn brown and die back. This is known as flagging and helps reduce water loss by sacrificing those unproductive parts least necessary to its survival.
By the following spring, and assuming nature or you have restored the balance, the plant will have fully recovered and look as good as it should.
Plants, including Western Red Cedars, like their moisture to remain at a correct and constant level – as Goldilocks and her porridge, so plants and their water.
Watering Western Red Cedar: Where
Once your Western Red Cedar is established, don’t water at the central stem but directly below the outer circumference of the foliage at its widest point. This will help ensure the water reaches the delicate feeder roots where it is most needed.
NB: Needle Loss
There is a common misconception about the meaning of ‘evergreen’. While a healthy evergreen plant is always predominantly green, individual leaves or needles will turn yellow, then brown and then drop off. The point is, this process occurs throughout the year rather in one fell swoop come autumn. Your Western Red Cedar hedge, like all conifers, will therefore loose needles, but not at a rate that will affect its appearance.