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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