Cedars are evergreen trees native to the mountainous areas of the Mediterranean basin and the Himalayas. Today, cedars are naturalized in vast areas of Europe and are ornamental trees very common in Italian cities.
Cedars are trees that belong to the genus of conifers and the family of Pinaceae.
The botanical name is cedrus and we must be careful not to confuse them with citrus medica, which instead indicate the large citrus fruits.
Cedars are trees characterized by the intense aroma of wood, very valuable and used both for its strength, in the manufacture of furniture and tools, and for its repellent properties, with products to perfume the linen and keep away moths.
Cedars are trees that can reach remarkable dimensions, even 40-50 m of height.
They have a massive and imposing trunk, with very wide ramifications forming a thick foliage.
The cedar leaf is needle-like, ranging in colour from dark green to bluish green, covered with white, pruinose wax. The needles are grouped together in small clusters, arranged in a tuft.
The cedar trees produce characteristic cones, called strobles. They are large wooden cones, cylindrical in shape, which reach maturity after about a year, opening and releasing small winged seeds.
Cedars trees: variety
The morphological differences between the cedar trees are modest and for this reason there are different methodologies for classifying the varieties.
There are three most common cedars:
- Cedar of Lebanon, or cedrus libani, originating in southern Turkey, Syria and Lebanon. It has a dark brown bark and foliage that tends to take on a flat shape.
- Cedar of the Atlas, or Atlantic cedrus, originating in Algeria and Morocco. It can reach a height of up to 50 metres.
- Himalayan cedar, or cedrus deodara, native to the southern slopes of the Himalayas, but also widespread in Pakistan, Kashmir, north-western India and Nepal. It has the peculiarity of having the branches falling.
In addition, many classify as cedars, a series of trees that belong to the genus pine.
These pine trees called cedars are:
- Cedar pine, pinus pumila, small evergreen tree with a bushy habit, well known and appreciated in the decoration of gardens.
- European Cedar
- Siberian Cedar
- Korean Cedar
Cedars trees: cultivation and care
Cedars are trees that have adapted well to the Italian climate, so much so as to become part of the spontaneous flora in some hilly or mountainous areas of our peninsula, in the Po Valley and the Pre-Alps.
These are trees that quickly develop a large shady crown. They are, for this reason, perfect for city parks or large green spaces, but not recommended for small gardens, if you do not choose varieties of more moderate size.
Cedars are trees that require little care and are resistant to heat, cold and even frost.
Cedars should be exposed to direct sunlight for at least a couple of hours a day.
Cedars are well suited to any type of terrain.
But for vigorous growth, they prefer a deep, light, well-drained soil with an alkaline pH.
Rainwater is sufficient for the cedars and they must be watered sparingly, every 20-30 days.
Only young specimens or those in periods of prolonged drought should be given more water.
At the end of the winter, you can fertilize the soil by adding mature manure, or, you can add liquid fertilizer to the water of watering.
Pruning should never be carried out and only intensifies the growth process of new branches, because cedars are trees that regenerate quickly.
Only dry or damaged branches should be removed if necessary. Always remember to use suitable gardening tools, such as shears or gardening scissors if the branches are small, when cutting dry or damaged branches to avoid crushing and damage to the plant.
Adversity of cedar trees
Cedars can be attacked by cedar aphid, which causes the leaves to dry up and fall.
These parasites hide under the bark of the smaller branches and in spring they begin to reproduce and suck all the lifeblood of the plant, causing it to deteriorate.
If the infestation is mild, you can remove the aphids by jet washing with water and copper-based solutions. But in serious cases, it is necessary to intervene with a specific pesticide, to be used with moderation and choosing products with low toxicity.
Cedars can also show radical rot, caused by excessive irrigation or poorly draining soil.
Cedars trees: meaning
Thanks to the height and majesty of its trunk and branches, the cedar tree symbolizes immortality and eternity.
It is said, in fact, that the columns that supported the temple of Jerusalem and the palace of King Solomon were built with the wood of cedar trees.