Thuja plicata, commonly known as 'Western Red Cedar', or 'Arborvitae', is native to the Pacific Northwest and has gained popularity among landscapers and homeowners for privacy screens. This member of the cypress family has naturally flowing branches and soft, fragrant, evergreen foliage, and a full-bodied pyramidal form that makes them attractive all year round! These trees can literally provide complete privacy with little maintenance in just a few years.
Western Red Cedars look great when left in their natural shape, but if you are interested in a more traditional look, they respond extremely well to shearing of pruning for a more uniform shape. Not only can they be used as an attractive privacy hedge, but they also act as a wind buffer and they can help filter dust and other pollutants from traffic on nearby driveways and roads.
The ease of growing arborvitae is partly because they tolerate almost any soil type, are cold hardy, and somewhat deer resistant. They are not picky plants, however, they do best when planted in ideal conditions such as moist, well-drained soil, adequate water, and full to part sun. Once established, they are drought tolerant and don’t need much attention other than seasonal watering adjustments. Be careful to not overwater them, especially during the hottest days of summer!
There are several different cultivars of Western Red Cedar. Although they all share similar characteristics in foliage, form, location needs, one difference is the rate of growth and size at maturity. These trees are very easy to maintain your desired height and width.