Cedrus atlantica, is a true cedar, unlike the many thujas, chamaecyparises and junipers which have cedar as a part of their common name.  It is native to the Atlas Mountains of northwest Africa, hence the common name Atlas cedar. This majestic, evergreen conifer is now planted around the world and, in full maturity, exceeds a hundred feet with an almost equal spread. These dimensions render it useful only on larger properties and there is hardly a great house in the UK that is not framed by one of the grand specimens. Fortunately there are many cultivars that have been developed for special characteristics with size being a foremost emphasis. And one of these special cultivars is the Columnar blue atlas cedar, or Cedrus atlantica glauca fastigiata. Not only is this tree prized for it smaller dimensions, making it useful to smaller, urban plots, but it also valued for the bluish cast to the needled foliage and the form, which is a narrow, upright column.

Columnar blue atlas cedar makes a dramatic garden statement, a smokey-blue exclamation point that works as either a specimen or grouped along a drive. In the first ten years this tree, under optimum conditions, will quickly grow 10 to 15 feet tall but only 5 feet wide. But even at full maturity it will only reach 40 feet tall with a 25 to 30 foot spread, a little tall beneath power lines perhaps, but still a comfortable fit for all but the smallest gardens. And being evergreen this beautiful tree with its touch-inviting needles also serves as a perfect privacy screen or small windbreak.

Atlas cedars are tough and trouble free. The extreme age of these trees grown around the world under highly varying conditions is a testament to their vast adaptability. Once established they are drought tolerant and grow well on acid or alkaline soils, and full sun or partial shade. The essential requirement is that they must have good drainage.

Columnar blue atlas cedar may be difficult to find. It certainly won't be encountered in the big, discount building centers. But it should be available in the more select, connoisseur nurseries and is worth the effort. For restricted spaces or for those situations where a stiffly, formal specimen is desired, the year-round beauty of a Columnar blue atlas cedar is the perfect solution. There is also the beautiful Deodar cedar, Cedrus deodara.

Columnar blue  atlas cedar


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