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Japanese cryptomeria is a handsome medium to large conifer with a conical to narrow conical form. This species is fast growing and is relatively popular in the trade. If lower limbs are removed, one can observe a beautiful orange-brown bark (on most trees). The foliage tends to turn brownish on the south side of the plant in winter due to desiccation; however, foliage will turn green in spring. Japanese cryptomeria does have a few disease problems, although these are not considered a major issue at this point in time. Reports of a branch dieback disease incidence in the southeast U.S., some leading to tree death, have been surfacing in the last several years; at present, there are no definitive diagnoses. Some cultivars are less hardy than the species. ‘Elegans’ is a beautiful dwarf cultivar with long (juvenile) awl-like needles that turn a purplish-brown in the winter; however, this cultivar has been especially disease-prone in southwestern Virginia.
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September 27, 2018