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Thuja occidentalis

Pronunciation: Thoo-yuh ok-sih-den-tay-liss
Family: Cupressaceae (cypress family)
Common Name: Eastern white cedar, american arborvitae
Plant Type:
  • trees, shrubs
Height to: 40-60'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -50 to -40ºF ZONE 2
  • -30 to -40ºF ZONE 3
  • -20 to -30ºF ZONE 4
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
Sun Exposure:
  • part sun
  • full sun
Bloom Season:
  • early spring
  • late winter
Bloom Description: The trunk is sometimes buttressed at the base, and the thin, reddish brown bark is cut with furrows and shreds in thin strips. Branches start near the ground in open-grown trees; those in a forest setting may be devoid of branches for the lower third of their height. The branches are short and horizontal and the branchlets are flattened and held in fanlike horizontal planes. The leaves are like scales, closely attached to the compressed branchlets. Foliage is pleasantly fragrant, dull yellowish green, turning bronze in winter.
Soil Type: Neutral or alkaline soils
Plant Perks:
  • Fragrant
Propagation: Eastern white cedar, the wild tree, is propagated from seed. American arborvitae, the cultivated form, is propagated from semi-ripe heeled cuttings taken from the current season's growth and rooted with mist and bottom heat.
Native to: Ne north america from nova scotia and quebec, west to manitoba, and south to minnesota, ohio, new york and northern new england. Isolated populations occur on some of the higher peaks in the appalachian mountains of pennsylvania, virginia, west virginia and north carolina. Wild eastern white cedar generally grows in swamps and wet forests, on neutral or alkaline soils, often associated with limestone.
Notes for Identification: Source: floridatacare: american arborvitae likes a humid environment and grows best in areas with high snowfall. Mulch well to keep the soil from drying out. Arborvitae tolerates wet soil. The tall, pyramidal cultivars of american arborvitae are good accent or specimen trees. Small bushy cultivars are commonly used in foundation plantings, especially at corners. Very small cultivars are useful in rock gardens. Arborvitae responds very well to pruning, and is easily shaped into a formal hedge. But a row of freely branching specimens makes a nice hedge too. Some insist that american arborvitae is overused in suburban landscapes. But these are durable and carefree evergreens and will always have a place, like grass, in the home yard.  eastern white cedar, the tree, is valued for its soft, rot-resistant, easily worked wood which is made into canoe ribs, toboggans, shingles and fence posts. Native americans used various concoctions of white cedar for a variety of ailments, and early french settlers gave it the name, "arborvitae" - tree of life.
Located in: Seed Photos
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