Brandon Cedars, Arborvitae Evergreen: Also known as Northern White Cedar / Thuja occidentalis ‘Brandon.’
The Brandon Cedar has a fairly dense, bright forest green, feathery foliage. They are great for windbreaks, privacy screens, hedges, or as an accent tree. It grows slightly bushier and faster than the Emerald and not as bushy and fast as the Excelsa. It is the perfect in-between cedar while keeping the pyramidal shape and casual elegance. The Brandon is moderate growing, making it the perfect choice for home gardeners who live in urban areas or have small gardens.
Brandon Cedar grows tall, fairly compact, and easily grows in any location -from full sun to partial shade. They do well in any soil but grow best in organic-rich, well-drained soil. They are typically planted 3 feet apart (stem to stem.) -Or 2 to 2 ½ feet for a tighter hedge. The Brandon is tolerant of dry conditions once established. This pyramid cedar is quite hardy and only requires a light seasonal pruning in the spring.
The Brandon Cedar will grow at a rate of approximately 1 ½ to 2 feet a year vertically and 6 inches to 1 foot horizontally per year. They can easily be pruned but can reach above 20 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of about 4 feet wide. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground and is suitable for planting under power lines. Under ideal conditions, they can be expected to live for 50 years or more.
The Brandon cedar does best in zones 3 -9.
Emerald Green, Arborvitae Evergreen: Also known as an Eastern White Cedar / Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’.
The Emerald Cedars are characterized by glossy dark green, tight foliage. They are most commonly used to create privacy screens and noise barriers due to their tendency to grow thick and dense.
Emerald cedars are tall and compact, and are usually planted 2 feet apart for privacy hedges (stem to stem.) They grow best in full sun, and are fine in just about any soil. Emeralds are low maintenance, only requiring pruning once per year, and they grow well in areas subject to high atmospheric moisture.
The Emerald Cedars typically grow in a pyramid shape, at a rate of about 1 foot vertically and 4-6 inches horizontally per year. At maturity, the Emerald can reach heights above 20 feet and 3 to 4 feet in width. The average life span is traditionally between 20 to 30 years.
Emerald Cedars are hearty in zones 3-7
Excelsa Cedar, Arborvitae Excelsa: Also known as Western Red Cedar / Cedar Thuja ‘Plicata’.
The Excelsa Cedar holds its deep dark green colour year-round with slightly golden tips in the winter (due to cold,) and has a wonderful scent. Excelsas are great for privacy hedges, field windbreaks, shady areas, and are also Deer resistant. (Deer do not usually eat them.) If a towering privacy hedge is desired in less time, it is a great ‘two-story’ privacy tree as an alternative to slower-growing white cedars.
Excelsa Cedars grow tall, wide, and are usually planted 3-4 feet apart (stem to stem). It grows well in all soil types and prefers moist climates. This cedar is adaptable to various growing conditions and is low maintenance. (Suitable in urban, rural, and semi-rural environments.)
The Excelsa Cedar is a medium to fast-growing tree at the rate of 2-3 feet per year vertically and up to 2-3 feet per year horizontally, maintaining a steady pyramid shape. They can reach heights of over 30 feet and can grow as wide as 10-15 feet. The Excelsa Cedar has a long life span of 50 years or more.
Excelsa Cedars are hearty in zones 5-8.
Note For Planting All Cedars:
- The recommended time to plant cedar hedges is usually after the ground thaws in early spring, until mid to late June. (Depending on the size of the plant and local temperatures.) And then again in the early fall, before the first frost.
(Mid to late September,)
- Dig the hole slightly deeper than the root ball and twice as wide for planting.
- Water newly planted cedars in the early morning or evening. Water at ground level, and try not to get the branches wet. (The drops will burn them in the sun.)
- With drip hoses, water approx. eight hours a day, or with a regular hose slowly trickle water for about an hour, at least once a week. (More if high temperatures.)
The ground should be moist but not saturated.
- Spreading Mulch under the tree base will help retain water and keep it cooler, but don’t let the Mulch mound up against the trunk.
- Water well before the winter freeze.