The Q&A Archives: Tree Replacement

Question: My beautiful cedar tree was 'accidentally' trimmed by our neighbor. He had a firm come to do it and I had told him " do not touch the cedar". However, he did and trimmed it up about 30ft above the house.
Now I need to know what to replace it with since it was an excellant privacy screen and had grown there in that spot for 25 years. Now all I can see is the trunk from my deck. It broke my heart but now what to do? Should I take the whole tree out or plant beneath it? Not much area near the fence. Thank you

Answer: What a sad story! My property is surrounded by cedars and I, too, value them - not just for their beauty, but for the privacy they afford. Sounds as though your tree was limbed up; perhaps to enhance a view? In any case, I'd leave the tree where it is and plant beneath it. Cedars provide a great deal of shade directly beneath the canopy, and the roots will compete with other plants for moisture and nutrients, but I've had success growing camellia, azalea, rhododendron, hosta, fuchsia, vinca, and a variety of ferns beneath my cedars. Other hedge-type plants that grow well beneath cedar trees include native salal, laurel, evergreen huckleberry, escallonia and holly. I'd plant a variety of hedging plants in the empty space. You can always move the extras if the site begins to look like a jungle! In the meantime, you'll have a variety of foliage textures, colors and sizes to admire while your new plants become established. Best wishes with your landscape!

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