Cedar of Lebanon
In the arid climate of the ancient Middle East, there you will find the flourishing green forests and the snowy mountains of Lebanon. The Phoenicians, who were the native people of Lebanon, have used the timber for building ships, which made them the first successful trading nation in the world. The biblical prophets and King David have spoken about the cedar of Lebanon, mentioned over 71 times in the bible. “The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (Psalms 92:12).
Cedar of Lebanon is currently on the list of threatened endangered species. There are only few small protected forests left in Lebanon. Entire forests have been wiped out for timber, during the Roman Empire, and later by the Ottoman Empire. What makes the Cedrus Libani rare in cultivation is the difficulty of propagation. It can only by started by seeds which come from female cones, and can be difficult to germinate. It may take up to 30 years before producing any cones. Cuttings of cedar of Lebanon are impossible to root.
The Cedar of Lebanon cedrus Libani is native to Lebanon, and the coastal Levantine region. The climate in that region is dry hot summers, snowy cold winters where temperatures may drop to -10° F or lower. The Cedar tree thrives in similar conditions. In the United States the tree can survive in cold hardiness zone 5b through zone 9. Choose a site with full sun and well drained soil. Heavy and wet soil will cause root rot which can eventually kill the tree. Cones are not formed until tree is about 25-30 years old. The tree produces male and females cones. Normally male cones are formed on the lower branches and females on high ones. Which make seed collection hard. Young cones are light green, which mature in 2 years to brownish color. When the cones open up the winged-seeds are carried by wind.
Cedar of Lebanon is a slow grower, growing only around 10” a year when young, under ideal situations. Once roots are established, it will grow about 15” a year. Our tree at 10 years of age is about 10 ft tall and 5 ft wide. With age, C. Libani will grow to 80 ft (20 meters) high and 30 to 50 ft ( 10-15 meters) wide. In Lebanon the large trees are about 3000 years old. The horizontal branches sometimes are bent to the ground with the heavy snow.