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White cedar

Closeup of feathery green white cedar foliage

White cedar

Northern white cedar description TreeNA post

About the white cedar tree

Northern white cedar (eastern white cedar, eastern arborvitae) - Thuja occidentalis

Identification: White cedars are evergreens that grow in a narrow, pyramid shape. They often have crooked or twisting trunks. Cedars can be identified by their scale-like needles, which are flat and fan-shaped. Cedars create small, reddish-brown cones that stay on the tree through winter. 

Height: 30-50 feet 

Preferences: Full sun. Hardiness zones 3-7. Prefers moist areas such as swamps.

Wildlife value: Cedar foliage is a favorite food of whitetail deer. It is also browsed on by small mammals including rabbits and hares. The dense, scaly foliage of cedars provides nesting habitat for birds like robins and finches. 

Uses: Cedar wood is rot-resistant and is often used for fence posts, shingles, outdoor furniture and as pulpwood for paper. Cedar is rich in vitamin C and was used to prevent scurvy by French voyageurs, possibly giving it its name, "arborvitae," meaning "tree of life." Cedars are popular as windbreaks and hedges in landscaping.