Atlas Cedar Cone Removal

I acquired an atlas cedar in early spring (it’s now late summer here in NZ) and it’s put out a heap of cones.

A couple members of my local club have suggested I remove them so the tree doesn’t put any further energy into them; however, I’m not sure of the best way to do so and they weren’t sure either.

Any tips from those of you who have one of these in your collection?
Is cone removal recommended?
If so, do I leave a bit of the bottom, or clip the entire cone and/or cone and connecting stub off?

I’ve searched the forum here and watched the few Q&A clips that mention atlas cedar but haven’t managed to find the answer.


With larches they say to remove the cones to stop the tree from expending to much energy. But i would only do this if there are lots of them. This year the buds are poping on my larches and for some reason almost all my larches have cones on when previously they have little or none. I think the trees are in some kind of sync with each other, something that is common in other tree species.

In answer to your question I would personnaly say the fruiting bodies cones, berries, or seeds are and interesting part of the bonsai and important part of the full hormonal balance, and can look great. But if they are very large in size or number they could reduce the energy of the tree and i would cut off ones you do not want, or reduce the numbers if they seem to be in excess and let the tree have more energy for next years growth. Trees can under stress put everything into a last ditched ettempt and flower out. But none of my bonsai have died from flowering. I would embrace them.


Hi @gwen,
What @Robin said.
Many plants will attempt sexual reproduction when they are either happy or as a last ditch attempt before death, so the first question is ‘how is your tree feeling?’
If it is in a bad way, then go ahead and cut or twist the cones off, and then sort out the underlying problems.
If it is happy, let it get on with it or thin the cones to 2-3 per branch.


anyone have luck with air layering atlas cedar? i have a 7 footer in a nursery container that could be trunk chopped but wouldn’t mind air layering if it could lead to two pieces of material.

@Kellogg you might have more luck starting your own topic to ask? I didn’t see any reference to air layering them when looking for cone info last night.

@AndyK @Robin the tree seems happy overall, a lot of buds from what I can see. 13 cones though and I wouldn’t say it’s a big tree – see photo. Would you remove some to lessen the energy sink?

I dont think it’s been repotted for quite a while, so I’m on the lookout for a new pot (not a great range to choose from where I am) to do this in the future.


Sweet tree!
I would just enjoy the cones.


I agree. Unless the cones go to a massive size. Really sweet tree, good movement and great bark too.


Wow, nice tree! Is that a stone or fertilizer on the left side in the photo?
I see that the tree has it’s own comfy chair and a sunny spot, so you are pampering the tree in a way that keeps it healthy!

But seriously… keeping the tree healthy is the goal, and it looks like you are going great. Regarding repotting, it is important to allow the tree to become established in the container before changing to another that is visually more desirable. So repot if you must, but do not repot more often than is good for the establishing of roots, water, and oxygen. :heart_eyes:


Thanks, @Bonsai_bob, It’s a rock. I’ve been using liquid fertilizer every few weeks over summer as temperatures allow. Will fertilize a bit more through autumn as it builds up vascular tissue so it has some good energy come spring

I need to ask the previous owners when it was last repotted. It can be hard to get a good water on it due to the pot and it being so far above but I think I’ve managed to get it sussed.

There is a large crack through the current pot as well. I plan on repotting at some point only due to that and the position of the tree.

The tree is normally on a table, took the photo on the chair to reduce the complexity of the background for the photo. :joy: Usually gets full morning sun against my garage until about 1pm then is sheltered; the sun here can really fry things. I’ve moved it this week to a spot that gets full sun all day to strengthen up some branches on the back side a bit.

1 Like

[quote=“gwen, post:9, topic:2758”]i
It can be hard to get a good water on it due to the pot and it being so far above

The surface of the soil looks like a lot of organic material to me. You may benefit by stripping off the surface until you get to soil particles that are intact. Do you know what soil mix the tree has in the container? If water does not go into the soil due to elevation or compacted surface it is very difficult if not impossible to water properly. This may be why the tree has put on all the cones.
Conifers are usually displayed in non glazed containers. But the container you chose is both an artistic choice and a personal choice you make for the tree.
Do not despair. Learn from all of the forum members and avoid all the mistakes we have made.


1 Like

It’s getting well watered, I meant only that it can be hard to get a good water on it due to the nature of the position in the pot. I have pulled up the old moss on top to make sure it’s getting water beneath it. The soil mist looks like it’s a well draining mix and water definitely comes out the bottom during a water.

I don’t think it’s been repotted for a long time. As mentioned I acquired the tree late winter/early spring, about 5-6 months ago. I’ll be seeing the person I acquired it from this week so will confirm.

I’m aware that conifers are traditionally displayed in unglazed containers, so have been on the lookout for one. Pots are limited in NZ unless you import from overseas and then you pay extensively for freight, and run the risk of damage during shipping! Keep your fingers crossed I spot one. It also seems like there’s an abundance of glazed pots coming up on local buy sell pages but folks are keeping their unglazed pots in use :laughing: the joys of living on an island country at the bottom of the world are not lost on me!

1 Like

Do not forget to buy local!

There are potters who live in NZ and many bonsai hobbiests near me are buying or building kilns to add the creation of containers to their skill set. I saw that you have access to bonsai clubs near you, use those connections to ask where others source their containers. The local vendor may charge a little more, but supporting their business and skill help keep the hobby alive and available to your area.

1 Like

I won’t. I buy local when my budget allows, for sure. But I also like second hand if something fits for purpose.

I have.

Thanks for the suggestions. :+1:

1 Like

Have you checked out “Fionna’s Bonsai Pots”? A NZ potter. I discovered her blog linked from another Bonsai blog I was looking at. She makes some really nice glazed and unglazed pots for sale.

Very nice tree.


Yep I have a couple of her smaller pots. After @Bonsai_bob’s reply, I checked out her shop again and will probably grab a pot from her.

Talked to the last owner of the tree and he said he repotted it probably the year before last, so I think it’ll be OK in the current pot for a while.

1 Like

Hi @gwen,

I was wondering if you ended up removing some of the cones and what the results are.

1 Like

No, I left them on.

They all matured and opened up, releasing some fine yellow pollen and then looked really cool. Once they were dried enough to wiggle, I gently removed them.


Good move. See below for why one shouldn’t remove green cones. Unless they have some secret trick for how to do it…

1 Like

To be clear, the cones on my tree were not at the end of any branches.

So, not sure if that really applies to mine, but might be good for other folks to reference.