Deodar cedar trees (Cedrus Deodara) have silver-green foliage on graceful, drooping branches, making them a striking addition to a garden, lawn or landscape. They grow from 40 to 70 feet tall with a canopy spreading 30 to 40 feet wide and need a moderate amount of room for their roots to spread. They can be grown in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 7 through 9.
Size and Root Spread
While a deodar cedar's height and the spread of its canopy varies, so does the spread of its roots. Larger trees have larger root systems. The roots of a mature deodar cedar spread up to 32 feet from its trunk.
Use and Roots
Deodar comes from a Sanskrit word meaning "timber of the gods," and these lovely trees have been successfully grown on lawns at least 6 feet wide, as screens, as residential street trees, in buffer strips around parking lots and on highway median strips. These uses all suggest that the spread of deodar cedar roots is not an issue in urban areas. Arborists at Cal Poly's Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute rate its potential for root damage as "moderate."
Arborists have traditionally accepted the general rule that roots extend about 1 1/2 times the height of the tree. More than 60 percent of the nutrient- and water-absorbing roots grow beyond the drip line or edge of the tree canopy. This guideline is typically used for urban tree root protection zones. Another rough formula is to measure the radius of the drip line and multiply by 5 to get an estimated radius of the root spread.
The general rule for estimating the depth of tree roots is that most of them grow in the top 18 inches of soil. How deep a deodar cedar roots will grow is based on its growing conditions. Tree roots rarely penetrate through urban sites that have compacted soil, poor drainage and dense layers of rock.
- Arbor Day Foundation: Cedar, Deodar
- International Society of Arboriculture: At the Root of It
- Cal Poly Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute: Deodar Cedar
- University of Florida: Cedrus Deodara
- Gardening.eu: Deodar Cedar
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Cedrus Deodara
- Colorado State University Extension: Root Spread of Trees
- Iowa State University Extension: Roots in Depth
A one-time farm boy, Richard Hoyt, holder of a PhD in American studies, is a former newspaper reporter, magazine writer and college professor. While writing 27 novels of suspense, he has lived on sugar cane, pepper and papaya plantations and helped keep bees in Belize.