Issue: May 11, 2002

Graceful deodar cedar tree


I have seen several beautiful trees in Albuquerque. These trees looked a little like spruce trees, but they were more graceful. The branches hung down gracefully, and the trees were more open and airy. What are these trees? Are they difficult to grow? Tony M. Albuquerque


It sounds like you have noticed the deodar cedar (Cedrus deodara). This is a true cedar in the genus Cedrus unlike the junipers that are often called cedars. These true cedars are winter hardy in USDA hardiness zone 7 (one species is hardy to zone 6). They are well adapted to our soils and dry conditions. Following the dry conditions last winter, they look nice, unlike many other trees commonly grown in New Mexico. Although they are adapted to dry conditions, they do need some irrigation but less than many other trees. The deodar cedar is native to the Himalayas from India to Afghanistan. It is an important lumber tree in India and is very elegant in appearance. It can reach a height of 150 feet with its open form and pendulous branchlets. It is evergreen and relatively insect and disease free. The relatives of the deodar cedar are the Atlas cedar and the Cedar of Lebanon. The Atlas cedar is native to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa in Algeria and Morocco. This evergreen cedar also grows well in New Mexico. The blue form, the Blue Atlas Cedar, is very beautiful. The Cedar of Lebanon is a very majestic tree when full grown. It has a more flattened appearance with horizontal branches and a flattened top. This is the hardiest of the true cedars. It is listed as hardy to USDA hardiness zone 6. All of these trees will grow well under New Mexico conditions as long as they are not planted outside their hardiness limits. They adapt to our soil and moisture conditions, though some supplemental irrigation is needed. They become very beautiful trees and should be planted more often.

"Fruitless" plums making fruit again


My purple-leafed plums are making plums again. I thought they were "fruitless" plums. Why are they making plums?


A lot of people call the ornamental plums "fruitless plums." They are not fruitless; however, some years the blossoms and small fruits are killed by late freezes, so they don't always make fruit. They should be considered ornamental plums because they are grown for their ornamental flowers rather than their fruit. The plums they produce are edible and are quite tasty. They can be used to make excellent jelly.

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Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email:, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.


For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

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