How to Prune Western Cedar Hedge


The Western red cedar (thuja plicata) makes a great hedge because it's a slow-growing, needled evergreen. It can either be grown as a pyramidal tree or a shrub, depending on the landscape. It commonly grows wild in Canada and the northwestern United States and is adaptable--doing well in full sun to partial or light shade. Prune western cedar hedge to create the perfect shape and keep the shrub in the best of health.

Step 1

Prune western red cedar in the late fall or early spring, when the tree is not in full growth mode.

Step 2

Control the cedar's growth by keeping the top trimmed back. Run hedge clippers along the top of the tree until it is cut down to the desired height.

Step 3

Use the hedge clippers to shape the sides and front of the hedge. If you prefer a box-like shape, make straight lines and 90-degree angles. For a rounded shape, use the clippers to shave off the sharp edges of the hedge.

Step 4

Remove branches that are damaged by heavy snow, which is a common problem with western red cedar. Cut them with hand pruners as soon as you notice them. Place the cut inside the hedge, where the damaged branches meet healthy ones.

Step 5

Severely prune the hedges with hedge clippers in the spring if they are diseased or infected by leaf miner, spider mites or bagworms. New growth will sprout from old wood.

Tips and Warnings

  • Exercise extreme caution when operating electric and gas-powered hedge clippers. Do not try to cut parts of the tree that are touching or near power lines. Get a professional to do it.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves
  • Hedge clippers
  • Hand pruners


Keywords: Western Red Cedar, Western Cedar hedge, prune cedar hedge

About this Author

Based in New York State, Kelly Shetsky started writing in 1999. She is a broadcast journalist-turned Director of Marketing and Public Relations and has experience researching, writing, producing and reporting. She writes for several websites, specializing in gardening, medical, health and fitness, entertainment and travel. Shetsky has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marist College.