American Arborvitae, White Cedar, Eastern Arborvitae
Habitat. Hardy zone 3-7. A native of
eastern North America. Arborvitae also called White Cedar is a
handsome pyramidal evergreen shrub or tree with foliage varying from
dark green to light green during the growing season. Arborvitae can
grow to 60' and is considered a slow to medium grower. An
interesting ability of the American Arborvitae is it's ability to
overcome adversity in it's favored habitat. White Cedar grows well
in wet areas and will grow equally well on dry sandy hill tops.
White Cedar likes high humidity and tolerates wet soils and some
drought, but not salt exposure of any kind.
Leaves. The foliage on Arborvitae is scale
like, flat with inconspicuous buds and can brown somewhat
during the winter months. Some of the Arborvitae cultivars retain
their green foliage well into winter.
Flowers. Flowers in May, purplish on tips of
side twigs; pistillate on different branches.
Fruit. The Arborvitae cones are about 1/2"
long, about the size of an Eastern Hemlock
Winter Buds. White Cedar buds are somewhat
difficult to discern from last years growth
arborvitae bark is gray-brown somewhat similar to Ironwood (Ostrya
virginiana) and peels off readily in June when making fence posts.
Wear rubber gloves as the sap will stain your hands. We can't get a
wheeled vehicle in our cedar swamps so I have to carry them out on
my shoulder. If the poles are left in the woods for a couple weeks
they will lose nearly half their weight from sap evaporating thus
making them much lighter when carrying them out of the woods.
Wood. The wood is light, soft, brittle,
rather coarse grained, durable, fragrant, pale yellow-brown, with
thin, whitish sapwood. White cedar wood weighs 19 pounds per cubic
foot when dry.
Uses. Here at the farm we use white cedar for
fence posts and lumber. My neighbor "Bub" has a home made sawmill
run off an old John Deere with a leather belt connected to a Pinto
transmission with a 42" saw blade on a homemade carriage. Bub is
near 90 and still runs his mill a few times a year. Also used for
shingles, siding, porches, interior walls and railroad ties.
Pests. Pests of the White Cedar are
Arborvitae leaf miner which mines out the leaf tips, causing them to
turn brown. Scales of several types infest the stems and foliage.
Mites cause yellowing and speckling of the foliage. Bagworms can
devour large quantities of foliage very quickly. Fletcher scale over
winters as a small, reddish brown nymph on twigs and needles of the
white cedar. The over wintering females are out when the redbuds are
blooming. Juniper scale causes a yellowing of the needles. Females
over winter as adults with eggs, there is only one generation per
year. The crawlers emerge in early June in Michigan. , spruce spider
mites, tip blight, phytophthora root rot.
Diseases of arborvitae can include leaf blight which causes brown
spots on the leaves in late spring.
Distribution. SE Canada to NE Minnesota to
northern Wisconsin, North Michigan, New York, Vermont and north.
Other. In the wetter
areas at Porcupine Hollow if an Arborvitae topples over it will root
along the length of the trunk. Arborvitaes have also sprouted from
old White Pine stumps cut 100 years ago.
The stump will rot away leaving the Arborvitae roots above ground.
See the last photo below. Transplanting is moderately easy if plants
are root-pruned and either balled and burlapped or grown in
rootbags and makes an
excellent hedge or screen. Many of the natural stands of Arborvitae
in the United States have been cut. Some remain in isolated areas
along rivers throughout the East.
White cedar are found most
commonly mixed with hemlock and
yellow birch in low lying areas in
the upper Midwest. Arborvitae have shallow root
systems when growing on wet ground and can blow over easily. Good
survival in ice storms. Arborvitae are widely used as a shrub hedge and
can be grown so that the branches are so intertwined as to make an unpenetrateable fence. Arborvitae are also an excellent choice for a
windbreak where deer damage is not a problem. See last photo below
for deer damage. Arborvitae is the tree
of choice in northern areas for fence post and shingles as the wood resist
rotting. If you have the time and desire Arborvitae can be rooted
easily in the early spring from cuttings.
There are at leat 80 cultivars.
Brandon: which is
resistant to winterburn and grows about 14' tall .
Emerald Green: Is a
bright green color that holds up well in the winter. Is a narrow
grower to about 15' tall by 5' wide and is great for hedges. It also
is heat and cold tolerant.
Techney: Great for a screen or
hedge as it grows 15' and is pyramidal but fairly slow growing. It
keeps the deep green foliage thru winter and is very hardy.
Dark Green: Also known
as nigra arborvitae is a pyramidal and it grows to 25' and a with of
10'. Not quite as green as techney.
Green Giant: Fastest growing
of the arbs up to 50' and a width of 10-20'. Conical shaped and
holds color well.
To buy one of the cultivars of white cedar
To buy regular Arborvitae also called white cedar seedlings or check price
and availability click on the drop down menu below. If no menu
appears we are sold out till fall.
Call for B+B prices.
To order Arborvitae seedling by PHONE:
We're glad to take your order by phone. Call 231-544-6769 Phone orders can be charged to VISA, American Express,
Disaster or MasterCard accounts.
To order Arborvitae seedlings by MAIL: For those who wish to
order by mail or prefer to send a check, send orders to:
Porcupine Hollow Farm
8593 W. State Rd. Central Lake, Mi. 49622
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