arborvitae's picture

Golden Deodar Cedar seedlings

I have a twenty-five-year-old Cedrus deodara 'Aurea' which has never produced cones as yet. But last year I found two young seedlings, each about ten feet from the tree, which this Spring have produced the characteristic, bright golden new growth. There is a slightly older Golden Deodar in a neighbour's garden, about 150 feet away, and we do have squirrels, but I've never seen cones on it either. How can this be ?



Rachy Ramone's picture

How interesting!

Nick, how tall is your Deodar? Is it possible that it produced a few cones, high up, that you didn't see?

As you'll know, the cones don't fall from these trees, but disintegrate over time, so it might be possible that a cone or two were produced and released the seeds without you spotting them.

Are you planning to pot up the seedlings?

Rachy Ramone

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arborvitae's picture

Golden Deodar seedlings

Rachy, thanks for your reply. Firstly, I'm a bit puzzled as to how you ascertained a real name for me from my 'nom-de-keyboard'; are you one of the site organisers ? Not that I'm too bothered, but I thought personal information from signing-up was kept confidential.
Anyway, I'm grateful for your interest. I'd say it's not more than 20 ft., and I'm sure I'd have seen any cones, because they're not that small. I mentioned this to friends last weekend and they put another idea to me, that these plants were produced by the roots of the mother tree. I know that's how elms propagate themselves in this country; these youngsters are roughly equidistant from the mother but on opposite sides. With regard to the young plants' future, if you want one, you're welcome ! I have a dilemma with the big one because a fine Sorbus torminalis is growing almost into it, and Bean advises enjoying C.d. 'Aurea' in its early years and then cutting it down because its way of development means the upper branches shade out and kill the lower ones, ruining its appearance well before maturity. What do you think; which would you sacrifice to preserve the balanced appearance of the other ?

Rachy Ramone's picture


...are on our MySpot pages, but only the ones we choose to input. If you click on my name, it takes you to my details page: you can see how many observations etc I've made, and if you scroll down you can see whatever info I chose to put in, ie names, field of interest, location etc.

You don't have to fill them in, or you can put in a fake name (my surname is not really Ramone, of course, ha ha!)

Everyone can see everyone else's observation details, and whatever "personal" info they care to share. You can edit it at any time. The only confidential info is our email addresses, and they are not displayed anywhere.

I do tend to use people's own names if they give them: I haven't really thought why, but off the top of my head, it seems polite: also many people have noms-de-keyboard (if there is such an expression!) that are not easy to spell correctly. Obviously we can't have everyone called John having the user name of John, for example, which is why we all have to make a unique user name, but I have assumed that anyone who puts their own name on their MySpot page does not mind being addressed by it.

Sorry if I worried you! *puts away high powered telescope, listening device and other stalking equipment*

Regarding the Deodar, I've done a little superficial internet research and it does not seem as though Cedars produce root suckers - or, shall we say, I have not found any reference to it. So they are more likely to be seedlings than suckers.

Suggesions: maybe those pesky squirrels took cones from the neighbour's tree, sat in yours to eat it, and dropped seeds in your garden?

Maybe the seedlings are from a different conifer altogether? ("way to go, Rachy, insult the guy's ID skills...") I do know that a lot of conifers have juvenile foliage that is quite different from the adult stuff, and a lot of new foliage is a lot brighter in colour than mature foliage. So it is maybe possible?

I would certainly suggest potting them up while they are tiny! (Resists urge to say "and thank you, I will pop over to [naming your location] to collect.")

Regarding the dilemma of which one to keep, I would agree that Deodar does eventually have a clear trunk at the base, but only in quite old trees, so it shouldn't be an issue for a while. And it doesn't necessarily spoil it. On the other hand, S. torminalis - Wild Service Tree - is not exactly common, thus is worth preserving. On the gripping hand, I like conifers, so I'd keep the lovely Deodar.

Thoughts: if the Deodar does eventually lose the lower branches, that will make way for the Sorbus. You could pre-empt this by lifting the crown of the Deodar (ie removing lower branches right back to the trunk) to make room for it, keeping both trees in a sort of duplex arrangement. Unless you don't like the bare-trunk-look.

Alternatively, you could try to propogate the Sorbus by collecting and sewing seed, then replanting a new one further away from the Deodar: the bad news is that apparently they rarely set viable seed as the summers are not hot enough in the UK, but they do spread by suckers. You could wait for suckers, and keep those which spring up in a direction away from the Deodar!!

Not sure if any of that helps!

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:

arborvitae's picture

deodar dilemma

Thanks once again Rachy; wow, you're one busy lady - that's assuming you are a lady, and not some 'punk' bloke who likes 'vintage' music (or vice-versa) ! I'd probably call myself Green Floyd if I invented a pseudonym to reflect two interests ! Or perhaps, Bark-hoven, as I like Classical too. I thought you had to give your real name when signing-up, but I'm easy either way. I've now seen my profile page, and it's fine. I'm quite new to computing; as it happens, I tried Facebook for a week and didn't like certain aspects, so I resigned. This is different, i.e. better.
Back to the dilemma; twenty years ago, I thought hard about which trees would make a harmonious effect. I have limited frontage, so I whittled it down to two - a Cornus controversa 'Variegata' fifteen feet from my front window, and the golden deodar some thirty feet beyond, so there'd be a pronounced horizontal feel to the view. Then, a friend surprised me with this gift Service tree, because I'd said how much I'd searched local woods and hedgerows to find one and collect seed. Apart from the specimens, the rest of my garden is devoted to local indigenous species, to try to recreate a bit of lost 'mystery-county-shire' ! I foolishly planted the Sorbus only eight feet from the deodar, in a border. The two will this year affect each other's shape, and I was forced to cut some branchlets off the Sorbus in Feb. because they had evidently shaded out the tips of some cedar branches. The Sorbus has never flowered - it should be about to flower now - and produces a huge mess of thick, papery semi-biodegradable (!) autumn leaves. But, against that, there are over half-a-dozen golden deodars within four miles, and only one other, possibly 'local', Wild Service in a farm hedgerow nearby. What I planned when I came here was to locate such a native, collect a few chequers and grow my own, but my suspect gift changed that. I probably will elect, reluctantly, to chop down the Sorbus, but I do love the texture and colour of its fresh green leaves in association with the fine, golden-green cedar needles, and the stunning, creamy-white dogwood flowers/leaves in the foreground, which latter will be at its very best this week. It's at times like this that I miss not having a mobile or any kind of reliable camera, digital or otherwise. Perhaps I'll invest, so I can use ispot properly. Back to the native stuff, which is the real point of this site, I had a surprise when I looked in my pond the other day - a newt, probably smooth or palmate (I've had frogs/toads in the past, but I believe these are the top of the food chain, i.e. eat the others' spawn), and the baby barbel I released about twelve years ago has dodged the heron and become a monster ! An adult male flat-bodied chaser has been patrolling the pond and looking for a mate for the last couple of days. One of the Rhamnus cathartica seeds I planted when I put in my local-provenance hedge is now competing well, and I'm hoping for Brimstones to use it soon. I have bee and pyramidal orchids about to flower, but I'm now convinced the colony of common lizard has died out. Such is the fascination and unpredictability of nature. If you've managed to read all this, you're not a person but a community ! All the best, A non-Nick.

Rachy Ramone's picture


*laughs* what a great name that would be! I have a deep aversion to putting my "real" name on the internet, for no real reason other than a vague wish to remain private, despite the strong and certain knowledge that no-one would be interested in my doings, anyway...

You are not alone in disliking Facebook - I find it is rather "school playground" with all those "likes", and competing for who has the most "friends", pff, iSpot is so much better. Much nicer people! And you learn so much!

It's very interesting to hear the background of your Cedar dilemma, thank you for taking the time - I can now visualise it rather better, and I think that you have already come to the conclusion that the Deodar is going to win, which is a great shame for the Wild Service tree.

No chance of digging it up, and relocating it, I suppose?

I normally have newts in my front garden,(common and great crested) but I haven't seen much of them yet this year: I expect it's the extended coldness of this season, they are probably still cowering somewhere, partly still asleep. Yours might well come back.

I also have common spotted orchids - now flowering - and hopefully bee orchids from seed next year, so I envy you your pyramidal orchids!

Getting back to the Wild Service tree, I haven't seen any at all around here (Oxfordshire) other than a small clump of *sharp intake of breath* grafted ones at an eco-arboretum. As I mentioned, apparently they rarely set seed in the UK, perhaps you should set up a solar-powered hairdryer on yours, to encourage seeding. No, wait, if the sun shines, we don't need the hairdryer... *confused*

I have no idea off-hand if you can take cuttings of the Wild Service tree. There doesn't seem any reason why not, so if I were you, and were resigned to losing it eventually, I would try taking a few hardwood cuttings, now, and again later in the summer, on the "nothing to lose" basis.

Good luck!

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
Field Guides for Budding Botanists: