How to Plant a Cedar in 3 easy steps

How to plant a cedar in three easy steps

Cedar trees are right at home in Canada, including Eastern red cedar, a native tree that grows up to 25 meters or more, and western red cedar, a west coast native that can reach towering heights of up to 60 meters at maturity. 

Planting a cedar tree isn’t difficult, and once established, this hardy, versatile tree tolerates a range of conditions.

Site Selection

Hedge of cedar shrubs

  • Careful planning now prevents a world of headaches later. Before planting, consider the mature height and width of the tree. Don’t plant cedar under existing trees or power lines. Leave plenty of space if you’re planting a cedar tree near a building or sidewalk.  
  • Avoid locations near water, as cedar trees don’t do well in soggy soil or areas prone to flooding. 
  • Select a location where the tree receives at least six hours of sunlight per day. 

Planting a Cedar Tree


  • Dig an organic-based tree and shrub plant food into the soil a few months before planting. Look for a product with an NPK ratio such as 18-8-8.
  • Plant cedar after the soil thaws in early spring. You can also plant in fall, but keep in mind that late summer heatwaves can stress the newly planted tree.
  • Remove the cedar tree from the container. The tree can be planted as is if the root ball is wrapped loosely in natural burlap, which will eventually rot. Remove twine and metal staples, as well as any plastic “burlap.”
  • Dig a hole slightly deeper than the height of the root ball and at least twice as wide. 
  • Place the cedar tree in the center of the hole so the top of the root ball is even with the surface of the soil. If the tree is too low in the hole, lift it out and add enough soil to the bottom of the hole to bring the tree to the proper level.
  • Fill in around the root ball with the dug-up soil, then compact the soil firmly around the tree to remove air pockets. 
  • Fertilizer isn’t needed at this point, but the tree will benefit from a little compost or fresh topsoil mixed into the soil.

After Planting Cedar Trees

Cedar with mulch

  • Dig a shallow trench in a circle around the tree, then water the young cedar slowly for about an hour per week, or a little more if the weather is hot. The soil should be moist but never saturated.
  • Spread mulch around the tree in a span out to the dripline (the point where water drips from the outermost branches), but don’t allow mulch to mound against the trunk. 
  • Wrap the young tree loosely in burlap to protect it from deer that may browse during the winter. Established cedar trees don’t need this protection.



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