Western Red Cedar: A Majestic Evergreen for Landscaping
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) is a majestic and versatile evergreen tree in the cypress family, highly valued for its beauty and utility.
Species: Thuja plicata, known as Western Red Cedar, is a species of Thuja and should not be confused with the true cedars (Cedrus). It is distinguished by its towering height, conical shape, and lush foliage, making it a prominent feature in any landscape.
Native: This species is native to the Pacific Northwest of North America, particularly along the coast from northern California to Alaska. It thrives in the moist, temperate rainforests of this region, playing a crucial ecological role.
Habit: Western Red Cedar typically exhibits a pyramidal growth habit in its youth, becoming more columnar as it matures. In the wild, it can reach impressive heights, making it one of the largest and longest-lived trees in its native habitat.
Hardiness: It is hardy in USDA zones 5-7, showing a strong resilience to the damp and often cool climate of the Pacific Northwest. It’s also adaptable to a variety of soil conditions but prefers moist, well-drained sites.
Foliage: The tree features scale-like leaves that form flat sprays with a lush green color. The foliage is aromatic, especially when crushed, and maintains its color throughout the year.
Uses: Western Red Cedar is widely used for creating privacy screens, windbreaks, and as a specimen tree in large landscapes.
Benefits: Besides its aesthetic appeal, this tree provides significant environmental benefits, including habitat for wildlife, carbon sequestration, and soil stabilization. It also offers cultural and spiritual significance to many Native American tribes in its native range.