How to Plant Thuja Plicata


Thuja plicata, commonly called Western red cedar, is a large cone-shaped evergreen tree that can grow up to 200 feet tall. It usually grows to about 80 feet tall and up to 25 feet wide. This plant is hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8. Knowledge of how to plant Thuja plicata will help you grow a strong, healthy tree. Obtain a Thuja plicata seedling from a reputable nursery, choosing a healthy and vigorous specimen. Alternatively, grow your own young tree from seed or seedlings. This latter option will take significantly longer and includes higher risk.

Step 1

Choose an area with moist, deep, loamy soil and full sun to plant your Western red cedar. These are ideal conditions for the plant. It will tolerate somewhat wet soils and partial shade, but partial shade will produce a thin, open canopy. Make sure the tree has enough space to grow properly.

Step 2

Dig a hole with a spade that is twice the width of the root ball and at a depth the same height as the root ball. Stand the tree upright in the hole and start to backfill the soil around the roots. When you have filled in half the soil, water it deeply. This will settle the soil, eliminating air pockets.

Step 3

Backfill the rest of the soil into the hole. Tamp down around the tree firmly, creating a solid base. Water deeply at this time, eliminating air pockets and providing moisture for the plant.

Step 4

Keep the Thuja plicata moist, but not soaked, until it starts growing vigorously on its own. It may need constant water for the first two growing seasons, depending on how much rain you receive.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade


  • University of Connecticut: Thuja Plicata
  • North Carolina State University: Thuja Plicata
  • Virginia Tech: Thuja Plicata Fact Sheet
Keywords: growing Thuja plicata, planting Thuja plicata, watering Thuja plicata

About this Author

Sarah Morse recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English language and literature. She has been freelancing for three months and got her start writing for an environmental website.