The Western Red Cedar Hedge is practical, reliable, easy-to-maintain, fragrant and very attractive. It is also the perfect alternative to Leylandii.
The Advantages of a Western Red Cedar Hedge
If a good garden requires “the right plants in the right place”, then Leyandii, as we know, may not always fit. The key advantage this hedge has over Leylandii is its growth rate. It will grow pretty fast, but not as fast as Leylandii which, if left unattended, can become too tall to manage in just one season. And leave it for a few years and you may have very angry neighbours. The annual growth figures speak for themselves:
• Leylandii (Cupressus Leylandii): 75cm – 90cm
• Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata): 45cm – 60cm
• Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus): 30cm – 60cm
But Western Red Cedar’s advantages go much further than ‘not-too-fast, not-too-slow’. That it is visually similar to Leylandii is just the start
• Western Red Cedar can be maintained to any height and to a width as narrow as 45cm
• It is easy to maintain and extremely forgiving when trimming, and unlike Leylandii, you can cut into the old wood – it won’t brown and will re-shoot
• It will grow in any well-draining soil, even shallow chalk
• While a Western Red Cedar Hedge prefers full sun, it will grow happily, if a little less quickly, in full shade
• It makes an exceptionally smart, formal hedge when tightly clipped. While a similar hedge can be achieved with Leylandii, it requires a great deal more work
• It has a delightful aromatic fragrance, described by many as a subtle pineapple
• And the foliage is equally attractive – spreading, sometimes drooping, in a display of rich olive greens
• Even its bark is striking – its rich, dark, browny-red shreds to add texture and contrast to the warm, forest colours of the foliage
With all these attributes, it is not surprising it has one more – an RHS AGM. Of course, if you have the land, the space and the patience, plant a specimen tree and let it reach its full potential – all 35m. Alternatively, keep your eyes peeled when visiting the grounds of a stately home or Capability Brown landscape. Chances are, you’ll find one in all its glory. Meanwhile, why not plant your own!