|WHITE CEDAR HEDGE THAT SOMEONE STOPPED TRIMMING, NOW 40' TALL...|
|WHITE CEDAR, SOFT, MEDIUM GREEN, SCALE-LIKE NEEDLES...|
|WHITE CEDAR, WOODS GROWN, IN PARTIAL SHADE...|
|...WHITE CEDAR: THE SELECTION 'NIGRA', GROWS COMPACT AND PYRAMIDAL IN SHAPE|
Eastern white cedar, AKA arborvitae, Thuja occidentals, in the Pine Family, the Pinaceae, is much used in landscaping because it is adaptable to many soil conditions including limestone soils. Its native habitat is marshy and boggy areas in eastern North America south to the Carolinas, but it survives well on drier sites when planted in man-made landscapes. The ideal soil in which to grow white cedar is a deep, well-drained loam. White cedar grows best in full sun and won't tolerate much shade.
The species is slow to medium in growth rate, and in nature it tends to be loosely pyramidal. It has soft, scale-like, medium to dark green needles. There are many, many cultivars of arborvitae, most of which are far superior for landscape purposes than the species. 'Nigra' and 'Techny' are more compact in habit, have superior needle color, and take better to shearing (for hedges or foundation plantings) than the species. For naturalizing purposes I prefer the species.
Eastern white cedar needles are intensely fragrant, and the wood is very rot and weather-resistant, but most cedar lumber sold is from the giant western cedar, Thuja plicata, a much, much larger tree, although occidentalis can reach heights of fifty feet and more if left untrimmed. One occasionally sees linear "groves" of arborvitae that were once a hedge but got too tall to be trimmed and grew and grew.