Redcedar, Western

Thuja plicata

Cupressaceae - Cypress Family

Description

Leaves: Yellowish-green to dark green and shiny; often underside is somewhat streaked with white; scale-like leaves tiny (up to 1/8") while lance-shaped leaves (on leading shoots) slightly larger (up to 1/4"); leaves flat and grooved to round and keeled; persistent for 2-5 years; smells fruity when crushed; evergreen.

Twigs/buds: Twigs yellowish-green above, often whitish or silvery below, leaf-covered, thin, flattened; shoots (branchlets) tapering, oftentimes fern-like, pendulous (overhanging). Buds very small, inconspicuous, not covered.

Flowers/fruit: Flowers monoecious; male flowers yellowish to brownish; female flowers pinkish; inconspicuous, terminal (grow at end of stem). Fruit a cone; green to brown; erect, leathery to woody, slender, egg-shaped to oblong, 1/3" to 1/2" in length, sharply pointed near tip; ripens late in summer after 1 season, falls off in winter; covered in scales (2-3 pairs), scales spine-tipped; seed dark brown, 1/8" in length, laterally winged (wing width approximately that of seed).

Bark: Cinnamon-red when young, reddish-brown to gray-brown when older; shiny while young, thin; shredded and flatly and narrowly ridged when older, fibrous; used by Native Americans for making items such as baskets, mats, and clothing.

Wood: Important; heartwood pink or red-brown to darker brown, decay-resistant; sapwood yellow-white, less decay-resistant; soft, fragrant, light in weight, durable, rather weak and easy to split; strait-grained; used commercially to make shingles, poles or posts, patios, siding, boats, doors, and interior finishing; used traditionally by Native Americans to make dugout canoes, totem poles, spears, arrows, and other tools.

General: Native to the rain-forests of the Pacific Northwest and also to northern Idaho and western Montana; not Utah. The wood and bark were traditionally harvested and depended on by Native Americans in the northwest U.S.; and its wood is still used commercially in the U.S. Medium to large tree, often 50' to 70' in height, sometimes reaching heights of over 130', but can be stunted under harsh conditions. Canopy is narrowly cone-shaped and irregular, with arching branches. Similar to northern whitecedar; not a true cedar. Prefers full sun to partial shade and moist, fertile soils.

Landscape Use: An attractive conifer common in Europe, but rarely planted in Utah; several of the cultivars may do well in zones 5-7. Cultivated for ornament, with many cultivars. Ideal as a specimen; can be used for hedges, screens, groupings, or as a highway median. Base commonly buttressed (broadened and flared). Zones 5-7.

Cultivars: 'Atrovirens', 'Can Can', 'Canadian Gold', 'Clemson Select', 'Collyer's Gold', 'Copper Kettle', 'Cuprea', 'Elegantissima', 'Fastigiata', 'Green Giant', 'Green Sport', 'Pumila', 'Sunshine', 'Whipcord', 'Zebrina', 'Zebrina Extra Gold'.

Characteristics

General

Cupressaceae - Cypress
Family:
Yes
Cultivar Availability:
5 - 7
Hardiness Zone:
Conifer
Type:
No
Utah Native:

Growth

Medium
Growth Rate:
High
Mature Height:
High
Longevity:
No
Power Lines:
Pyramidal
Crown Shape:

Ornamental

No
Bark:
No
Fall Color:
No
Flowers:
Yes
Foliage:
Yes
Fruit:

Tolerance of...

High
Shade:
Low
Salt:
Medium
Drought:
High
Poor Drainage:
High
Alkalinity:
High
Transplanting:
x

Family

A group of closely related species and genera; scientific name ends in 'aceae'.

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Cultivar Availability

Cultivar Availability means that selected, genetically pure trees are available with known characteristics. Cultivars often prove to be more desirable than trees grown from seed or collected in the wild.

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USDA Hardiness Zone

Pick a hardiness zone to show which trees are suitable.

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Tree Type

Select Conifer for pines, firs, junipers, ginkgo, and other conifers (gymnosperms). Select Broadleaf for trees with broad, flat leaves (more or less) (angiosperms).

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Utah Native

Utah Native

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Growth Rate

Growth rate refers to height growth for the first ten years after a tree is planted. Select Low for less than 12-inches/year height growth. Select Low-Medium for low or medium growth rate. Select Medium for 12- to 24-inches/year height growth. Select Medium-High for medium or high growth rate. Select High for more than 24-inches/year height growth.

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Mature Height

Mature height will vary considerably by cultivar and site and is shown here assuming adequate care. Select Low for less than 20 feet mature height. Select Low-Medium for low or medium mature height. Select Medium for 20 to 40 feet mature height. Select Medium-High for medium or high mature height. Select High for more than 40 feet mature height.

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Longevity

The typical life span of a good tree in a suburban neighborhood is 30 to 50 years, while downtown trees may only last 5 to 10 years. People tend to plant fast-growing trees that often have fairly short lives. While some of this is all right, homeowners and communities should also plant trees that might grow slower (though some grow quite fast) but that are longer-lived. Select Low for less than 25 years typical life span. Select Medium for 25 to 50 years typical life span. Select High for more than 50 years typical life span.

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Powerline Suitability

Only very short trees should be planted under or directly adjacent to overhead electric lines. Medium height trees should be offset 15 to 20 feet horizontally from electric lines. Large trees should be offset 30 feet. Wider crowned trees like elms or maples should be offset more than narrower crowned trees like spruces or firs. If you suspect that you are planting in an area with underground electric lines or other buried utilities, call Blue Stakes at 1-800-662-4111 to have utilities located and marked. 'Yes' in this database means a tree is suitable for planting directly under powerlines. 'No' means it is not.

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Crown Shapes

Crown shape varies considerably by cultivar and sometimes by site. The common crown shape for a species is shown as follows: Pyramidal, Round, Columnar, Weeping, Broad, Oval, Vase, Layered, Shrubby, and Irregular.

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Ornamental Features

Ornamental characteristics are important factors in tree selection even though they usually have little to do with whether a tree can survive and thrive on its site. Ornamental factors to consider include flower and fruit presence and appearance, foliage color and texture, bark characteristics, shade density, fall color, and winter appearance. Some trees have thorns or spines, objectionable odors, a tendency to have basal or root sprouts, or maintenance-related needs that also should be considered. 'Yes' in this database means that a species is noted for a particular ornamental feature; 'No' means it is not, though there may be exceptions depending on cultivar.

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Tolerance of Shade

Shade tolerant plants often are best planted in at least partial shade, though many will do well in full sun. Shade intolerant plants usually need full sun to thrive.

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Tolerance of Salt

Generally means tolerance to salt on above ground plant surfaces, though may indicate some tolerance to soil salinity.

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Tolerance of Drought

Indicates the tree's tolerance of low soil moisture, heat and/or low humidity.

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Tolerance of Poor Drainage

Indicates the tree's tolerance to waterlogging, compaction, or otherwise poorly oxygenated soil.

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Tolerance of Alkalinity

Indicates the tree's tolerance of high soil pH or soil alkalinity; soil pH above 6.5 or 7.

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Ease of Transplanting

This describes a tree's relative likelihood of transplanting success. A low ranking indicates a plant that may need extra care at planting and may do better if transplanted while fairly small. Select Low for low transplanting difficulty. Select Medium for medium transplanting difficulty. Select High for high transplanting difficulty.

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