Eastern White Cedar

Eastern White Cedar Niagara Escarpment Botanical Name: Thuja Occidentalis
Family: Cupressaceae Native to: Eastern North America
Hardy to zone: 3
Eco benefits: erosion control, valuable wood
Natural habitat: swamps & bogs, inner forests
Shapes: conical, columnar, irregular
Height: 60ft
width: 15-20ft
Growth rate: medium
Lifespan: 150-1000 years
Tolerances: heavy pruning
Common uses: hedge, reforestation, landscaping
Insects: cedar leaf miner
Light: full sun
Transplanting: easy
Soil: tolerates heavy clay, tolerates wet feet, drought tolerant, ph adaptable

Eastern White Cedar JayCee Park St. Catharines

A scale-leafed evergreen tree native to Ontario and Niagara. The Eastern White Cedar can grow to be very old in the wild (over 1000 years). Some of the oldest specimens are located in the Niagara escarpment. The tree is a natural mosquito repellent and grows alongside the White Pine and White Birch. the wood is stable, resistant to warping, shrinking and rot. As one of the most popular evergreen hedges in Canada, there are many cultivars. These have a shorter lifespan, averaging 50 to 150 years old.

Stems & Scales

Scale-like foliage, arranged in flat sprays. Scales consists of a facial leaf (at the tip) and lateral leaves.

Eastern White Cedar leaves


In the shape of woody tulips when mature

Eastern White Cedar cones

Historical Facts

When Pioneers caught scurvy in early Montreal, the natives gathered branches from White Cedar trees to make a tea for them. The vitamin C from the branches ended up saving their lives. This contributed to the botanical name "Arbor" (tree) - "vitae" (life).

Eastern White Cedar bark JayCee Park St. Catharines


The occasional Cedar Leaf Miner can give the tree an unattractive appearance but is not very harmful. Treatment is done by pruning off affected branches.

Popular Cultivars

  • 'Emerald' - compact and dense with no pruning required. Grows 12-15ft tall
  • 'Smargd' - a German cultivar and the most popular
  • 'Holmstrup' - about 15ft tall and 5ft wide with a pyramidal shape
  • 'Sunkist' - golden yellow new growth, 6-7ft tall and 4-5ft wide
  • 'Woodwardii' - globe-shaped cultivar 8ft tall and 8ft wide