Atlas cedar, or Cedrus atlantica is an evergreen conifer that can grow as high as 120 feet (37m) with a 100 foot spread. Typically, however, it grows 40 to 60 feet high with a 20 to 40 foot spread. Like many conifers, it is cone shaped in youth becoming flattened and tiered with age.
If one word best describes a well grown Atlas cedar, that word is majestic, and it truly is. Few trees convey the strength and permanency of an Atlas cedar. And the older they are, the more wizened and grand. They make an excellent specimen tree, and are most impressive when the limbs are allowed to grow low to the ground which best sets off its mature form. The most common cultivar is 'Glauca' which has particularly blue-grey needles and a frosted effect at the branch tips. There is even a deeply weeping form, 'Glauca pendula', which has to be staked for some time before it grows upright. The trunks tend to be short but quite thick with massive horizontal branches. It tolerates drought, wind and heat, once established, and does best in full sun.
Atlas cedar grows throughout most of the UK and from Lower Canada down to the warmer half of the US. Ir also thrives in Australia and New Zealand. This is a Heritage tree that once planted, makes a bold statement for many generations. Atlas cedars are some of the oldest conifers in existence and live for centuries.

As always, the better cultivars are not likely to be found in the large discount nurseries, but more likely found in the select plant nurseries or from mail-order tree nurseries. There is also the equally beautiful Deodar cedar, Cedrus deodara.

Atlas cedar


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