If you are looking for an attractive evergreen with soft foliage that will grow rapidly into a hedge or privacy screen, then Cryptomeria Radicans is the plant you want. It forms a rounded upright tree when grown alone or it can be clipped into a hedge. It does best in moister summer conditions so if you live in a cooler area with summer rain, or have irrigation then this is an ideal tree for your garden. Once established it is however quite tolerant of all kinds of conditions except severe drought and heat.
This tree is actually a selected variety of the Japanese Cedar called Cryptomeria japonica var. radicans which occurs naturally in Japan and is grown there as an important timber tree. Magnificent avenues of ancient trees often lead up to temples. It is different from the species because it grows much more rapidly and has a more upright appearance.
Growing Cryptomeria Radicans
Cryptomeria Radicans is one of the fastest screening plants available, growing as much as four feet in a year when young. The growth-rate will slow down over time, but not before a magnificent hedge has been created for you on your property. It prefers a cool, damp soil with plenty of organic material, but once established it will take quite harsh conditions. It rarely suffers from insect pests or diseases. It is very deer resistant and is almost never touched even in harsh winters, so it is a great choice if you have a lot of deer in your neighbourhood, as everyone knows the damage they can cause if you do not choose resistant plants.
Size and Appearance
The new growth of Cryptomeria Radicans is a beautiful and significant feature of the plant. In spring the tree is covered with bright-green fresh growth that only slowly darkens to the deeper shade of the mature growth. In fall the colder weather may make the leaves turn a lovely bronzy-green. It is a conifer so it has no real flowers or fruits, but the tiny cones hang like little lanterns on the tree in fall, adding charm to the overall beauty of this lovely tree.
Mature trees grown as specimens can be 50 feet tall in 20 years and eventually much taller. The trunk is thick with mid-brown ridged bark. Over many years the lower branches will die until the tree begins to resemble a Giant Sequoia. However, if it is regularly clipped it makes an attractive, dense hedge with foliage right to the ground which is easily kept in good condition. It is best to clip in fall so that the new, bright-green spring growth can be appreciated for a long time before it needs clipping again. Clippings can be just swept under the hedge to make mulch.
Cryptomeria Radicans grows best in zones 6 to 8, so except for Florida, California, southern-Texas and the northern mid-west states it is an excellent choice for your garden. During the first season water well once a week, but after that water is rarely needed except during very long dry spells. Applying a general fertilizer in spring in helpful but is only necessary on very sandy soil.
Planting and Initial Care
For a quick screen, plant them either 4 feet apart or with the root-balls touching. For specimens allow around 15 feet for later growth. Trees planted 6 to 10 feet apart in groups of three or five make a beautiful way to fill the corners of your property and screen an ugly view. The area you are going to plant in should be dug a foot deep, or even more if you can manage it. Add any kind of organic material – rotted manure, compost, rotted leaves or peat moss – as these will all help develop a good root system that will give you the best growth possible. Some bone-meal or superphosphate worked in is also helpful, but is an ‘extra’ in most soil.
For screening it is best to dig a long trench which is easier to plant into, rather than digging individual holes. Before filling the planting hole completely firm the soil around the roots and add plenty of water. When it has drained away put back the last of the soil and level off. Once established the care required is minimal.
Sun Exposure and Watering
Cryptomeria Radicans is not very shade tolerant, so plant in a sunny location. It does best with regular water and should not be neglected during the summer, especially during the first few years of growth. If grown as a hedge some fertilizer in spring will help maintain healthy, vigorous growth which in turn will give you the maximum privacy. Keep the bottom of your hedge wider than the top so that it stays leafy right to the base.
Buying Cryptomeria Radicans at The Tree Center
Selected plant forms like Cryptomeria Radicans can never be grown from seed as each seedling will be different and unpredictable. Our trees are grown the correct way, from branch cuttings. That way every tree is identical to the original and produces a very uniform effect when grown in groups. However, this takes longer, so avoid cheaper seedling trees that will only be a disappointment. Here at The Tree Center, we sell only trees that are true to the original form and we have a wide range of sizes to give you the best plant for your purpose. We are constantly renewing our stock to ensure every customer receives fresh, healthy plants, so supplies of this tree may be limited.