How to Plant Plicata


Plicata, also known as thuja plicata or Western red cedar, is a slow-growing evergreen. It is a popular ornamental tree that is often used by property owners as a screen or hedge. The tree can be planted in open spaces or close to buildings. While it can reach a height of 180 to 200 feet in the wild, it generally reaches a height of 60 feet and has a spread of 15 to 20 feet in controlled landscapes.

Step 1

Choose a spot that receives full sun or partial shade. The plicata prefers moist, well-draining soil.

Step 2

Dig a hole that is twice as wide and twice as deep as the tree's container or root ball.

Step 3

Add water to the hole to moisten the soil. Do not add fertilizer because it can kill the tree's tender roots. If your soil needs nourishment, add a shovel-full of compost to the hole.

Step 4

Remove the plicata from its container and loosen its roots. If you have a tree that is wrapped in burlap, leave it as-is.

Step 5

Place the tree in the center of the hole. Position it so the top of the soil line is at ground level. If your hole is too deep, remove the tree and back-fill with a bit of soil. If the tree is wrapped in burlap, snip any wire or string that is holding the burlap on the tree and peel the burlap halfway down and away from the rootball. Don't remove the burlap from the hole.

Step 6

Back-fill the hole with soil. Tamp down the soil with the flat end of a hoe or with your foot to help settle the dirt around the tree's roots. Add more dirt if needed.

Step 7

Water the tree deeply and plan to water weekly during the growing season. The soil should remain moist but not water-logged.

Step 8

Add mulch around the base of the tree. Keep a 3-inch ring around the tree's trunk free of mulch. This ring will enable water to reach the roots. The mulch helps keep weeds from invading the area.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Water
  • Mulch


  • USDA: Plant Guide
  • The Gymnosperm Database: Thuja plicata

Who Can Help

  • Western Red Cedar
Keywords: plant plicata, plant thuja plicata, plant western red cedar

About this Author

Wendy Jackson is a writer/editor for print/online markets. She has been freelancing for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Front Porch Syndicate, as well as being picked up by health/education professionals and groups such as the American Chestnut Foundation. Jackson pursued an English major/psychology minor beginning at Pellissippi State.