Eastern Arborvitae

Eastern arborvitae makes a nice hedgerow!

Eastern Arborvitae Coniferous

Thuja occidentalis

More than 120 named cultivars of northern white cedar have been named and used as ornamental trees and shrubs, where the name “arborvitae” is usually applied. This arborvitae is not native to Nebraska, but it can be grown around the state. In drier areas, it will require consistent watering. 

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Where To Grow

It commonly grows in cool, moist, nutrient-rich sites. One should avoid abnormally dry areas or be prepared to water this tree during dry periods. Ideally, it likes moist soils and many sources say it also prefers considerable atmospheric moisture. It also can thrive in compacted soils and can be transplanted any time of year. It is most often used for hedges and other types of border or shelter plantings.
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Suitable to plant throughout the state.
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Size at Maturity

Tree Height Tree Spread
40-60' 10-15'
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Tree Characteristics

The tree's crown is narrowly conic to broadly pyramidal, with spreading, densely crowded branches. Cones may be produced by the trees as young as 6 years old, but seed production in large quantities begins when the trees are about 30 years old.

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Wildlife Benefits

This tree has low value to most species but will be visited by songbirds, browsers, and small mammals.

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Additional Considerations

The wood’s light weight and resistance to decay make it useful for a number of applications. The principal commercial uses are for rustic fencing and posts. However, cabin logs, lumber, poles, and shingles can also be created from the tree. 

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Interesting Facts

In the wild, the species flourishes in the company of black and red spruce, red maple, larch, and balsam fir. It can reach ages of 400 years! American Indians referred to this tree as Oo-soo-ha-tah, meaning, “feather leaf.”  

Additional Images (click to enlarge)
Photograph of the tree shedding its needles in the fall.
Photograph of the tree.
close up view of the tree's soft "needles".