Arborvitae, Western red cedar
tree of the family Cupressaceae (incense-cedar, Cypress, Juniper, Libocedrus, Arborvitae)

Conifer with persistent foliage.

Origin of species:
- Eastern Arborvitae, Arborvitae occidentalis, undoubtedly the first North American tree to have been introduced into France: in 1534, the king François Ier receives a young plant.
- Arborvitae of East, Arborvitae orientalis, native to China,
- Western red cedar, Arborvitae plicata, native to the West coast of the United States, was introduced into Europe in 1854.
Habitat: deep, humid soil. Arborvitae occidentalis is a heliophilous species (appreciate sunny position), while Arborvitae orientalis supports sunny position or half-shade.
Hardiness: zone 6 (it supports cold until -23 °C or -9 °F).

Maximum size and growth:

- the Eastern Arborvitae is a tree reaching 15-20 metres tall. Slow growth.
- the Thuya d' Orient is a shrub (5-10 m).
- the Western red cedar attains 50 m tall. It grows fast.
Shape: conical or pyramidal when young, becoming columnar as it matures. Horizontal branches bent towards end and flattened stems and pendulous.
Trunk: often divided at the base into two or three stems.
Fibrous bark brownish grey.
Leaves in scales whorled from 4 to 6-7 mm flattened, which renew themselves every 3 or 4 years. Stems are flattened. Arborvitaes resembles some Cypresses and False-cypress (Cypress of Lawson, Monterey cypress), because they have leaves in scale and disposed in plan. Arborvitaes distinguishes itself from it because stems are somewhat broader, and less dense.
Flowers on the stems of the previous year, at the beginning of the spring. Male cones yellow, upright, green female cones.
Fruits: cones, urn-shaped, composed of woody scales, which mature in two years and fall entire to the soil. They contain 2 or 3 winged seeds.
Use: Arborvitae is a tree which is pruned easily (more easily than false-cypresses), what means that it fits to this size: a pruned cedar voluntarily restore severely green shoots after less than a year. It is used as a hedge, which makes one forget that it can grow as a single tree. The wood is soft, lightweight and durable.

Eastern Arborvitae

Arborvitae of China

Advices of planting:
The arborvitae needs light to grow: avoid planting them too much near some of others or too much near an obstacle or in a dark zone, without what, they will grow inclining, in search of light. Avoid alternating varieties, because the one will take more place than other one and sought-after effect will not be attained. If you plant it insulated and in a zone subjected to the wind, stake it it until it attains 4-5 m tall. This is valid for any tree with form columnar, fastigiate or pyramidal.
Advices of pruning:
You can prune your arborvitaes in period of active vegetation: from May-June to September-October but not in winter. pruned cedar will soon make new shoots that will hide the bald areas.


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