Western Red Cedar

Thuja plicata

The Western Red Cedar tree (Thuja plicata) is becoming more popular in British forests as a response to climate change and the need to diversify our woodlands.

Western Red Cedar is very shade tolerant and so can be planted as a nursery crop for slow growing broadleaves such as oak.  Its branches do not tend to interfere with neighbouring trees, so it is considered to grow generally well in mixtures.  Its timber is naturally durable and light, so most frequently used in outdoor carpentry including cladding.

Western Red Cedar can be slow to get going, but is generally a fast-growing tree with good volume production.  It grows best on medium to very rich soils with fresh to moist soil moisture but will tolerate calcareous soils if grown under light shelter. Western Red Cedar trees are not suited to very poor and very dry soils but does tolerate some drought and will grow on gleys.  It also occurs on some peat soils in its natural range, but this is not optimal for the UK. Western Red Cedar is more frost and cold tolerant than some other conifers, but does not tolerate exposure and is generally wind firm compared  to most conifers.