Forum home Talkback

Raising Cedar Crown - Advice Please!

Hi all,

I am a newcomer to this forum so apologies if what I am asking sounds stupid or is in the wrong section.

We have a large 60-70ft cedar in our back garden. I have been told it is an atlas cedar and this seems consistent with pictures I have seen on the internet and in books. 

It is a beautiful tree but not surprisingly it drops a huge quantity of needles and cones over the year. It seems in good health and grows quickly. In fact it is beginning to grow into the surrounding trees and over the neighbours’ gardens the shade it creates is starting to kill the neighbours’ lawn. They have asked us to consider pruning it in some way. Our lawn didn't grow at all due to the shade and lack of water and so we have synthetic grass.

We are looking at pruning it back in some way but before we get a professional in, I just wanted to arm myself with a little knowledge to make sure they don't suggest something that could make it look silly or even worse, harm the tree.

As you can see from the pictures, there are two large branches at a height of approx 10ft from the ground. I have read that it is OK to raise the crown of a cedar as long as branches are retained on the upper two thirds of the trunk. Is this true? Removing these two lower branches would mean there are still branches on well over two thirds of the trunk.

Even if it is safe, do you think this would make the tree look silly? When I look at cedars on 'google' it seems that most have a crown very close to the ground and some have a very high crown. Would a crown of approximately 18ft on a 70ft cedar be appropriate? Finally, will removing lower branches from a tree make it more or less stable in a storm?

Once again, apologies if this is a silly question and apologies too for my rambling! I'm just very conscious that once the branches are gone, they are gone for ever and I don't want to ruin or damage the tree!

Many thanks in advance for your advice. 
















  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Perhaps best to talk to a few tree surgeons for advice and quotes.

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    Check with the Council that there is not a Tree Preservation Order on the tree first.

    Hogweed is right, but make sure you consult a professional, not a 'man with a chainsaw!'
  • Thanks for the advice both. No I've checked with the council and there isn't a TPO on it.

    I've has two tree surgeons out to look at it in the last year - both of them from the directory listed on the Arboricultural Association website. One of them advised to cut the tree down or to leave it as it was. The other said he would get back to us with recommendations and a quote but never did. (I got the impression from both of them that it was a bit too much effort and they preferred the bigger jobs)


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,421

    Bottom branches could be cut back to the trunk but that wouldn't do away with the needles and the spread.

    Lovely as it might be it's not what I'd want in a small(ish) garden.  It's out of all proportion to its surroundings. I'd remove and plant something more appropriate to the space

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • YviestevieYviestevie Posts: 7,063

    So would I nut, Its a parkland tree, not one for the garden.  I think the neighbours have been very understanding, I would worry if that was next door to me.

    Hi from Kingswinford in the West Midlands
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    If you look at it with a strangers eye I think you will agree it is all out of proportion for the garden and it really isn't very lovely. A cedar should really be grown as a specimen tree where it has space to be admired and spread itself.

    I don't know how close it is to the house, but it must cast a lot of shade and limit what you can grow in the garden.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,894

    I agree with Nut, Yvie and Welshonion - it's out of all proportion to it's surroundings and it's going  to get bigger and bigger.  When I saw the first photo I was quite shocked.  Whatever you do to is is going to cost money - I would bite the bullet now and have it taken out and the stump removed.  There are so many lovely trees you could plant that will enhance rather than overshadow your garden.


    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thank you all for the constructive feedback.

    The tree is about 20 metres from the house. It has a girth of roughly 3m which by my reckoning would make it approximately 90-100 years old. 

    I certainly agree it is out of proportion to the garden but I had thought that as it had been there long before I (and possibly the house) had been there, I shouldn't begrudge it being there.


    Is the general consensus that it wouldn't be a crime to cut it down?!

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,421

    I wouldn't see it as a crime. 

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,894

    It's what I'd do - and then plant something that will enhance your garden image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

Sign In or Register to comment.