Bad Decisions

Any bad decisions you’ve made lately that if shared might spare someone else the same mistake?

I often buy dead looking end of season plants at Lowe’s. They usually end up looking pretty good the next year (although not always) so they seem to be a good deal.

This year I focused on shrubs, grasses, and lower care plants. I bought this adorable arborvitae and planted it in a bed next to the apple trees. Turns out it’s a cedar. Nowhere did it say cedar and I didn’t look it up. I don’t think it’s a red cedar but I’m not taking chances. It’s got to go. CAR already gives me a fit.

I did get a nice red Japanese maple reduced from $61 to $16 which sort of evens things out. Also some Japanese forest grass half off.


I bought cheap end of season rootstocks off facebook in the early summer. Most of them didn’t leaf out


If your cedar is a genuine cedar (Atlas cedar, Cedar of Lebanon, or Dodar cedar) it should not give your fruit CAR.


This says it’s a white cedar. I did not buy from here. BTW

  1. Letting the trees bear fruit too soon.

Even a couple of test fruits slow things way down. Visualize in your mind’s eye what the minimum acceptable size of the finished tree would be. Wait until it’s about 2/3 that size and even then thin very hard for a couple of years.

  1. Zone pushing in any way shape or form at least for the first couple of trees. The first two trees should be reliable producers.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating planting distasteful stuff; but there’s a quality cultivar or two well-adapted to your area. Plant those two first.


@Rosdonald Thuja genus are not hosts for CAR. Western red cedar, thuja plicata, is not an issue. Hope you can keep your new cute arborvitae. :slight_smile:

As for bad mistakes, inadequate deer protection is a big one for my area. Better to overprotect than lose hard work and time growing.


Dido to what Buckeye said. I live surrounded by wild white cedar everywhere. We do not have Cedar Apple Rust anywhere around here, because eastern
red cedar doesn’t grow in this region.


I pruned my apple trees like I would a peach tree. Set them back years.


As others have indicated, true “cedars” aren’t the issue. Junipers are…

In my area there are many many “[red] cedars”, or at least that’s what everyone around here calls them. They are actually Virginia Juniper though, “cedar” is more or less a slang name for them.


I thought that, but good to have someone comment based on experience. Good.


You don’t need to worry about CAR with that. “Cedar” is what they call a polyphyletic name in taxonomy. AKA, it’s applied to a variety of unrelated species all willy-nilly. Arborvitae “cedar” does not carry cedar apple rust. Juniperus virginiana (aka eastern red “cedar”) is the culprit. All these trees got the name cedar because they share some superficial resemblance and because the wood of all these species share similar rot-resistant and wood-working properties.


Echoing wdingus and others, your tree might not be the kind of “cedar” that hosts cedar apple rust.

Cedar is one of those words like pine that ends up being a catch-all for trees that look vaguely similar, even if they are completely unrelated. True cedars, which are the genus Cedrus, are native to Eurasia and are fairly common ornamental trees. Their closest relatives are actually firs, hemlocks, and a few rarer genera. Then over in the redwood family, Cupressaceae, we have most of the other “cedars” none of which are true cedars. In Cupressaceae, the ones that most often get called cedars are in the Thuja (arborvitae, western red cedar, northern white cedar), Cuppresses (cypress), Chamaecyparis (Atlantic white cedar, several Asian cedars), and Juniperus (junipers). Eastern red cedar is a juniper.

The only conifers that host cedar apple rust are members of the genus Juniperus. Eastern red cedar, common juniper, Rocky Mountain juniper, chinese juniper, creeping juniper, etc. are all hosts of cedar apple rust to various extents, with eastern red cedar being the worst offender. But white cedar, western red cedar, chinese cedar, Tasmanian cedar, deodar cedar, cedar of lebanon, incense cedar, Chilean cedar, Japanese cedar, Atlas cedar, Spanish cedar, gopher cedar, etc. all do not host cedar apple rust.


I don’t understand all the worry about cedar apple rust.

  1. Unless really bad CAR is mostly cosmetic
  2. All kinds of cedars are omnipresent in many locations. If you don’t have one in your yard, your neighbors do.
  3. I have to spray for scab and other fungus anyway which also prevents CAR

I planted blackberries in my orchard, and not only do I only get berries on one of the three varieties, but they have become very invasive. I keep thinking maybe give them one more year, just in case. Should have mowed them all off several years ago.


Well you probably won’t make this mistake but I had grafted several types of orange on to a lemon and had just had a very nice small tree started. One day I spotted a squirrel out by said tree and got my trusty slingshot loaded with a 5/8" marble> I let one fly and missed the squirrel. Later in the week i noticed the upper part of the tree was wilted and gave it a good watering. A couple days later it had not recovered. after a closer inspection I found that the 5/8 marble had shattered the small main trunk below my grafts. Probably a one in a million chance of this happening.