White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

White cedar trees reach up to 15 metres in height. As it ages, its characteristics change quite a bit, particularly the bark. Saplings and young trees have thin, shiny bark, while older trees have more rigid bark that separates into strips. On average, white cedar trees can live for 200 years in good growing conditions. However, a white pine found in the Niagara escarpment was 700 years old!

White cedar cones reach up to 12 millimetres in length and grow in clumps of about a dozen. Its needles grow on fan-shaped twigs and have a yellowish-green tone. They prefer swampy areas over a layer of limestone.

These hardy trees can handle some shade but don’t respond well when exposed to road salt. Nevertheless, landscape designers would do well to consider them for heritage trees to anchor landscaping designs. You can also prune and train them into hedges for privacy screens and inclusion as a smaller landscape feature.

White cedar trees grow in several zones (2-7). See Dutchmaster Nurseries’ Plant Hardiness Zone by Area page to understand the various zones throughout Ontario and the rest of Canada.


What Are Some Uses of the Wood?

White cedar is lightweight and long-lasting. In general, cedar is known for its resistance to decay. That makes it natural as a material for poles, fences, shingles, boxes, and other applications requiring longevity. Also, it does well when in contact with soil and water. The wood also makes beautiful paneling for boats.

Are the Berries Poisonous?

Avoid eating the fruit of white cedar trees. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and lethargy. Those sensitive to the poison may have more serious symptoms.

What Soil Does It Prefer?

White cedar prefers to grow in bogs found in northern Ontario. It also likes the limestone plains in southern Ontario. Moist, well-drained soil over a limestone bedrock is the perfect home for these evergreen trees. They often grow in old fields or pastureland and thrive in shallow soil.

Do They Grow Well with Other Trees?

White cedar commonly grows well with eastern white pine, eastern hemlock, red or silver maple, and white elm. It also sometimes grows alongside tamarack and black spruce. In drier areas, white cedar forms dense pure stands.

If you or your end clients have any questions about growing conditions or the best trees to plant alongside white cedars, the knowledgeable tree specialists at DutchmasterNurseries can help.

Dutchmaster Nurseries has a wide variety of white Cedars and other evergreen trees—we wholesale trees and shrubs to contractors, landscapers, and other businesses throughout Ontario. Contact us with any questions you may have or to place an order.


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