Western Red Cedar 'Atrovirens'
Western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ is an exceptionally hardy thuja plicata cultivar. Western Red Cedars have very aromatic, rich green foliage borne in sprays – which smells pleasantly pineapple-like. They grow slightly faster and much taller than white cedars (thuja occidentalis). The ‘Atrovirens’ has a narrow conical growth habit and can grow very tall, which is why it is often planted as a specimen tree or as part of a small group of trees in a large garden with plenty of space. But even if you do not feel like growing an enormous tree or forest in your garden, western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ can still be a very good choice, as this thuja also makes an excellent hedging plant for both small and spacious gardens.
It all depends on how frequently and thoroughly it is trimmed. If you require your hedge to remain slender and relatively small, it should be pruned once or twice a year. These annual prunings will help keep it in check, so it doesn’t get out of hand. Western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ stands clipping well, so long as you don’t cut back into bare wood. Thuja plicata ‘Atrovirens’ is a valuable hedging conifer for all sunny locations or in partial shade and does not mind growing in shallow chalky soil. Waterlogged soils are detrimental to the plant’s health, but keeping it moist is very beneficial, especially during the first year. Thuja plicata ‘Atrovirens’ produces small cones.
Growing a Western Red Cedar ‘Atrovirens’ Hedge
Western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ is a good choice if you want to grow a dense screening hedge within a relatively short amount of time, but do not want to deal with the disadvantages of an exceptionally fast-growing hedge plant, such as the Leyland cypress. While it is considered slower growing than that vigorous conifer, western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ does not need a lot of time to grow tall and dense enough to serve as a proper screening hedge. Though mature western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ plants grow at a respectable average growth rate of approximately 30 centimetres per year, the saplings of this sturdy thuja cultivar grow considerably faster, which is also why a western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ hedge needs more water in the first couple of years after planting.
Western Red Cedar ‘Atrovirens’ Maintenance
Once your western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ hedge has become established, maintaining your hedge is neither difficult nor very time-consuming. It is important to trim it at least once a year – preferably twice – because a western red cedar, unlike the much slower growing yew, cannot be repaired without doing damage once it has become overgrown, as its old wood does not produce new growth. As long as you can fulfil these simple maintenance requirements, western red cedar ‘Atrovirens’ can reach a lifespan of several hundred years, guaranteeing that you never have to worry about your privacy again.