CFAES Give Today
Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Thuja plicata

Common Name: 
western arborvitae

Thuja Plicata

Large evergreen native to the pacific northwest of the United States. It is the largest tree in the cypress family and can grow 100-200 feet in the wild with girths of 23 feet. They typically reach a height of 50-70 feet with a spread of 15-25 feet and live for hundreds of years with oldest-known specimens over 1000 years old. Mature trees exhibit a narrow to broad pyramidal shape that may develop a buttressed base. Trees growing in compact forest areas tend to develop a narrower shape whereas those with unrestricted room for growth develop a broader form. Branches may droop somewhat, with upturned ends that create a graceful appearance.

This tree will suffer in hot humid climates. This species grows in full sun to full shade and prefers consistently moist, well-drained soil with pH 5.0 to 8.0. It does not tolerate drought.

Use as a specimen for large yards, at the edges of ponds, streams or bogs and for screening.


Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)

Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)

Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)

Soil Texture:

High Organic Matter

Soil pH:

Acid (<6.0)

Neutral (6.0-8.0)

Soil Drainage:

Good Drainage

Occasionally Wet

Available Space To Plant:

12-24 feet

24-60 feet

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No serious insect or disease problems. Bagworm and some root rots may occur. Plant in an area protected from dry winds.

This information adapted from North Carolina Extension. Read more here.

Plant Image: