Growing Western Red Cedar is simple – as is caring for it. Exceptionally unfussy, it is a hedging plant that will grow well in just about any garden. In this post we will discuss how to plant a Western Red Cedar, the one place it doesn’t grow well, and how to feed it.
The Western Red Cedar maze in Ottawa. Not for every garden, but it demonstrates the versatility of this excellent hedging plant!
Growing and Planting
Aspect: Can be planted facing any aspect, though prefers South or East
Shelter: Shelter is not a necessity as Western Red Cedar will tolerate an exposed situation
Specialist Care: Young plants should be protected from drying winds.
Planting Distance: For a quick-setting hedge, plant at 60cm intervals. If you can wait a year, maybe two years, longer for the hedge to close, plant at 1m intervals. If you require your hedge to provide the maximum possible protection, plant four per metre in a double staggered (i.e. two parallel zig-zag rows)
Drought Resistance: Good
Soil pH: Acid, through neutral to alkaline.
Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Sand or Loam
Moisture: Prefers damp but well-draining soil. It is, in fact riparian and so tolerates damp, boggy, conditions commonly found, for example, where land meets rivers, lakes and other large bodies of water,
Light: Prefers full sun but will grow happily, if less quickly, in full shade
Having praised Western Red Cedar without criticism, it is only right that we also point out its weak spot…
Although this hedge plant is hardy once established and will cope with just about anything our climate may choose throw at it, it is not suited to coastal gardens. It can take the wind in its stride, but not the salt. Griselinia littoralis AGM, Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, Escallonia macrantha Rubra or Buxus Sempervirens are all good choices for those of you who garden by the sea.
Unless your soil is especially poor, this hedge plant will not require regular feeding, though a sprinkling of a slow-release proprietary fertilizer in the spring will do no harm.
This aspect of maintaining your hedge couldn’t be simpler – or more critical. We look into this here.