The Cedar genus is a multifaceted, beautiful, and useful collection of plants. They range in size and look with a number of different varieties to enjoy. For example, the Western Red Cedar can get up to 150 feet high, whereas the Eastern White Cedar will usually only clear about 40 feet high. While there are bigger types located in forests and on larger properties (especially in the more mild or coastal regions of the country) you’ll more commonly see the smaller Cedar cultivars used for ornamental purposes, privacy screens, and hedges. The cedar’s unique foliage forms in flat spray-like shapes, with scale-like leaves with a distinct fragrance.
Ornamentally, these trees excel in providing privacy while also adding color and texture to your garden or property. Their dense foliage is often quite low maintenance, typically only needing to be pruned once a year. They come in a range of colors, with some cedar trees shifting in color throughout the seasons. The Amber Gold Arborvitae lives up to its name by its foliage turning from a yellow to deep green, then settling into an orange-gold during the fall and winter. You could also use your smaller cedars (such as the Brandon Cedar) as living Christmas trees in your yard, staying green and beautiful throughout the entire season!
Throughout time, cedar trees have had many practical and medicinal uses. In traditional Cree (and other Indigenous and Metis nations) natural medicine, cedar is offered to the sacred fire during sweat lodge ceremonies, burned during prayers, and when boiled can purify indoor air and be used for cedar baths. Also used as a tea, it is thought to reduce fevers, rheumatic symptoms and relieve symptoms of chest colds and the flu.
For more practical uses, some Indigenous populations in British Columbia would use the inner bark of cedar trees to make clothing, blankets, diapers, and rope. Its fibrous properties helped it perform well as it was flexible and could be made comfortable. The outer bark then was used in infrastructure, particularly in roofing.
TreeTime.ca carries a variety of cedar species each year. Click here to see what’s available for Spring shipping!