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Types of Cedar Trees

Left to their own devices, cedar trees grow to be some of the largest and long lived. When brought under cultivation, they don’t get quite as high or live quite as long, but they still make a dramatic statement. Cedar trees are hardy no matter what planting zone you live in, from zone two in Canada to zone nine, all but the one hottest zone on the continent.

Atlas Cedar

Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica) grows from 40 to 120 feet tall and a spread of 20 to100 feet. The tree produces a silver-gray bark and blue-green leaves that measure under an inch in length and grow in tufts. The Atlas cedar has egg shaped cones that grow to 3 inches in length. The tree is a native of Morocco and Algeria can grow in full sun or partial shade, can stand up to heat and humidity and is hardy in zones six to nine--from North Carolina south and up the west coast. Because of its size, it needs a lot of space and is not a tree for a small property. It is best used as a stand-alone specimen plant or in groves where there is plenty of space between the trees.

Cedar of Lebanon

Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) grows from 50 to 100 feet tall and produces green leaves that grow to 1 inch long and grow in clusters. It has barrel--shaped cones that grow from 3 to 5 inches in length. It is a native of Lebanon, Turkey, and Syria and grows in high-acid soils and in thin soils as long as it is well drained. It does best in full sun and is hardy in zones six to nine.

Northern White Cedar

Northern white cedar( Thuja occidentalis L.) is a thin tree that grows from 30 to 60 feet tall, lives to be about 400 years old and produces dark green leaves that then yellow--green in the fall. The flowers are yellow, green or brown, are very fragrant and bloom only in April. It is a native of North America and was brought to Europe by the early French explorers. The tree can grow in full sun, partial shade or full shade and can take a dry or moist soil. It is hardy in zones two to seven--from central Canada to as far south as North Carolina. The tree does best as a stand--alone specimen tree.

Western Red Cedar

Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) is an evergreen that grows from 50 to 200 feet tall and 15 to 25 feet wide, with a life span of 400 to 1,000 years. The tree produces red-brown bark, scale-like, dark green needles and light brown cones that grow to about ½ inch long. It likes full sun to partial shade, moist, fertile and well-drained soils and is hardy in zones five through seven. Western red cedar is native to the Pacific North West from southern Alaska and down the coast to northern California and then east as far as British Columbia and Montana.

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