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Thuja occidentalis

Description

A slender evergreen tree native to eastern North America.  It is a low maintenance plant that tolerates clay soil, wet sites, black walnut, and air pollution. It grows best in moist, neutral to alkaline, well-drained loams.  It does not tolerate dry sites, and exposed windy sites should be avoided. Avoid full shade or foliage will thin out dramatically. Cultivars are typically globular, pyramidal, columnar to conical in growth form. Utilized as specimens, accenting, hedges, or foundation plants,

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems. Leaf miners may damage leaf tips. Bagworms, mealybug, scales and spider mites are occasional visitors.  Canker can occasionally be a problem. It does not perform well in overly shady, dry, or windy sites.   Susceptible to damage/stem breakage in winter from ice and snow accumulations. Foliage can become winter burned (yellow-brown) in dry, exposed sites.

Quick ID

  • Evergreen gymnosperm
  • Branch sprays in flat planes
  • Leaves scale-like with blister-like, pustular gland
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea Nana'
  • 'Hetz's Winter Green'
  • 'Nigra'
  • 'Pumilia Sudworth'
  • 'Smart Guard'
  • 'Spudwellii'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#songbirds#bark#conical#interesting bark#specimen#wildlife plant#large tree#native tree#cover plant#low maintenance#air pollution tolerant#playground#black walnut#clay#fragrant foliage#wet sites#cpp#NC native#exfoliating#children's garden#foundation planting#screen#Braham Arboretum#fantz#nesting sites#dendrology
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurea Nana'
  • 'Hetz's Winter Green'
  • 'Nigra'
  • 'Pumilia Sudworth'
  • 'Smart Guard'
  • 'Spudwellii'
Tags:
#fragrant#evergreen#songbirds#bark#conical#interesting bark#specimen#wildlife plant#large tree#native tree#cover plant#low maintenance#air pollution tolerant#playground#black walnut#clay#fragrant foliage#wet sites#cpp#NC native#exfoliating#children's garden#foundation planting#screen#Braham Arboretum#fantz#nesting sites#dendrology
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Thuja
    Species:
    occidentalis
    Family:
    Cupressaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Oils from this plant are used in cleaners, insecticides, soaps, room sprays and hair care products. The Ojibwa tribe made soup from the young, tender inner bark of new stems. The wood is used in fencing and posts, cabin logs, lumber, poles, shingles, paneling, piling, lagging, pails, potato barrels, tubs, ties, boats, tanks, woodenware. The oil used in cleansers, disinfectants, hair preparations, insecticides, liniment, room sprays, and soft soaps. Twigs are used in some teas for relief of constipation and headache,
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central & E. Canada to N. Central and Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    SC west to TN north through IL, IO,Minnesota and Manitoba east to Nova Scotia,
    Wildlife Value:
    Northern white cedar provides nesting sites for songbirds, cover, espeically in the winter for white-tailed deer, which both feed on the branches and use them for shelter from the cold.
    Play Value:
    Fragrance
    Screening
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Nesting
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Tolerates clay soil, wet sites, black walnut and air pollution.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 40 ft. 0 in. - 60 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 10 ft. 0 in. - 15 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Tree
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Broad
    Conical
    Pyramidal
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Fine
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Winter
    Fruit Description:
    Does not produce fruits has brown cones
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    Conifer, non-flowering
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Needled Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Slippery
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Needles
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are scale-like in adults, ovate, obtuse to bluntly acute, yellowish-green to gray-green below bearing a pustular gland near apex, appressed to branchlets in opposite pairs, each pair overlapping the adjacent pair above.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Light Brown
    Light Gray
    Red/Burgundy
    Surface/Attachment:
    Exfoliating
    Bark Description:
    Attractive red-brown bark exfoliates on mature branches and trunks.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Screen/Privacy
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Pollution
    Wet Soil