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PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:40 pm 
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sadly,
it is coming time to remove my 100 +yr old eastern red cedars, they are growing feeble and a potential danger to the house, and neighbors.

3 concerns to resolve:
1. can anyone make use of the wood-beautiful red/purple sapwood, trunks varying form 14" to nearly 30"
2. can anyone make a recommendation in keeping the bees that have made a home in a hollow of one tree?
3. is it safe to replant fruit trees in same spot as cedars in the same season-or have the cedars "poisoned" the soil against agressors, requiring me to do any special amendments/treatments?

thanks for any and all suggestions


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:35 am 
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I think you'll find that this is an interesting time, and though you'll miss these old trees if they're gone, you can do a lot with that space.

Where are you living, and have you called an arborist to give you an opinion about the trees? Maybe there is something that can make them healthier, or minimize the loss? These trees should be very long-lived, so I would explore that option first. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest on soggy Puget Sound where the remaining ancient Western Red Cedars are 12 and 15 feet across and more. The Eastern variety should have most of those characteristics.

If you do have to take them out, there are woodworker artists and builders who specialize in various types of wood, and depending where you are, I have a couple of wood-worker friends who might offer advice. Cedar is good for a lot more than just kindling!

Since you have very large old trees with well-developed root systems, if you do remove any of them then there are probably several things to try for speeding the breakdown of those roots. In the U.S. what we coloquially call cedar are not true cedars, they are in the juniper family, and are trees with a lot of tanin that breaks down very slowly (hence it's use for fence posts, shingles, etc).

If you're planting new plants in the area, one big question is that of proximity to the old roots (how hard do you want to work when you're digging holes to plant new trees!) Also, as the roots break down you'll see a lot of fungus (mushrooms and more) activity in the area as they move in and do their work. You might speed it up with adding dry molasses to the area.

The soil under evergreen trees tends to be very acid (in my experience, at any rate) so planting things that crave that soil (azeleas, or even rhododendrons if you're far enough north or high elevation) if there is still some shade.

This is a spotty answer. Hopefully your answer regarding where you are will help fill in some of the gaps.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2009 10:57 pm 
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thanks for the reply.

these trees are in Oak Cliff (dallas) tx. the soil here is fairly alkaline, even under the junipers (red cedars).

while junipers can last up to 150 years, the decay is progressing rapidly in the pith with hollows, and loss of several large branches (6"+) this year. last year i had an old arborist come in to inspect, he rated the 2 at 5/10 for safety.

i have tried contacting resellers of cedar, most are too far away to be interested, i had thought some local woodworkers might be interested, but have found no takers so far....if you have any recommendations i would be glad of it...these trees are better than mere mulch, and deserve a better use....even with the wood rot in portions of the tree there should still be several large widths available for cabinetry or veneers....the heartwood has a nice purplish rose color.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2009 8:10 am 
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With your eastern red cedar I had the impression you were actually in the zone where they grow (like "The East.") The couple of woodworkers I know are in the east; I doubt they have many contacts here in Texas.

I wouldn't try to plant a Red Cedar here in Texas. It would be a reminder of home only if it could grow happily, but they need way more water and probably cooler temperatures than this climate offers.

In their native habitat there are lots of very big trees with hollowed out centers. It's the nature of the tree, apparently; or at the very least, they survive for hundreds and thousands of years with this condition. Is this why you think it is unhealthy?

Would you post photos of the trees, and get closer to the trouble spots so we can see what the weaknesses are?

Here's a link to the hollow cedar that is in my family history: Image ("Slim" Husby is my great uncle Olaf). This photo is from flickr, I don't know who the people are. :)

Image

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:22 am 
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Texas is probably the western edge of their range, but they are indeed native here, and these have flourished at least 100 years in this ground, predating the post WW2 housing development in which i live.

these trees are all over duncanville, cedar hill and oak cliff, crowding the limestone escarpment from I-20 north along loop 12. i understand that they are somewhat common in central texas, too.

they are prolific in oklahoma and arkansas as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juniperus_virginiana

i will try to get a digital picture, and figure out how to post....


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:58 am 
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That's a surprise. The Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) that I grew up with is a feature of the temperate rain forest and is a classic part of the indigenous cultures (wood for many things, shakes, carving, etc., bark for weaving, etc.)

Learn something new every day.

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