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Thuja Plicata 'Martin': Fast-Growing Hedge

Thuja Plicata Martin

Thuja Plicata Martin also known as Western Red Cedar is an evergreen, coniferous tree that forms a beautiful, compact hedge. Its glossy leaves may be green or dark green and smell good. The fruits produced look like little cones.

This variety of Thuja retains a slender shape with a width of not more than one meter. This is a very important aspect in hedging where lateral space is generally limited. It can be cut back into old wood and will surely re-root.

Growing Thuja Plicata Martin

Thuja Plicata Martin is characterized by fast, upright growth habit. This plant is suitable for a hedge. It produces a pleasant scent when you rub the leaves against something or between your fingers. This variety can achieve a growth rate of 40-60cm a year when grown under optimal conditions.

You can keep the hedge at any height. If you keep the hedge at height of 2-3cm or lower, it will be much easier to trim than when you allow it to grow taller. If it’s not trimmed, Western Red Cedar can reach a height of 20-35m and makes a wonderful specimen tree, but you will obviously need more space for this.

Why you should grow Thuja Plicata Martin

Thuja Plicata Martin has many benefits that make it an excellent hedge. Here are a few advantages of growing this Thuja species for hedging purposes:

  • Maintains its evergreen color throughout the year
  • Fast-growing conifer
  • Suitable for screening and provides all year privacy
  • It is an excellent windbreak
  • It is hardy in nature
  • Re-shoots from old wood
  • Its leaves produce a sweet fragrance when crushed or pressed between fingers
  • Grows well in many types of soils except waterlogged soils
  • Grows well in shady or sunny areas
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Forms a beautiful, compact hedge
  • The variety maintains a slender shape which is ideal for hedging purposes
  • Makes an excellent windbreak
  • Makes a great nesting site for birds

Where to grow

Thuja Plicata Martin can grow in many types of soils but appreciates any free-draining soil; that is, any soil that does not retain water. It will also grow on shallow chalk soils and appreciates shady or sunny areas.

How to plant

It is important that you grow Thuja Plicata Martin in the right way and in the right conditions to ensure that it establishes quickly and grows into a healthy, compact hedge. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Give the plant a good soak in the clod
  2. Choose a suitable planting area and remove grass and any weed
  3. Dig a trench twice the width and same height as the clod. Ensure that the walls of the trench are straight
  4. Take a small portion of the soil from the trench and amend with manure
  5. Place the clod at the center of the trench ensuring that the top of the clod sits level with the surrounding ground level
  6. Back fill the amended soil into the trench as you firm it around the root ball
  7. Fill back the remaining garden soil and water the soil to settle around the roots of the plant
  8. Apply a thin layer of manure and water the plant thoroughly


Avoid skin contact with the plant as it may cause irritation

Don’t plant in waterlogged soil

Needs to be protected from drying winds, especially when young

Plant young Thuja Plicata Martin as soon as they arrive to ensure maximum growth

Care & Advice

The first growing season is very critical for the growth and survival of Thuja Plicata Martin. For western red cedars that are dug up from the nursery for transplanting, most of their roots are severed and they will not be able to take up water well for a few months after planting, thus putting them at risk of drought stress. Here are a few tips to help you care for your western red cedar:

  • Watering

It is recommended to water them thoroughly during the first growing season. In hot, windy conditions or sandy soils, you will have to water them more frequently. During the first winter, you only need to water them occasionally.

  • Mulching

Spread 5-10cm of wood chips around the plant to reduce loss of water from the soil through evaporation and suppress the growth of weed. You can also use other mulching materials that may also provide nutrients that are helpful to the plant’s growth. However, ensure that the mulch is not in contact with the trunk of the plant to avoid rotting.

  • Fertilizer

Feed Thuja Plicata Martin with a fertilizer that has high nitrogen content such as a 16-8-8 formula in spring. However, you should avoid putting the fertilizer around the planting hold. Apply the fertilizer at a rate of 1/3 pound fertilizer for each 30cm of the plant’s height. Spread the fertilizer around the base of the plant and till in lightly with a hoe or rake and water thoroughly.


  • Evergreen
  • Fast-growing
  • An excellent windbreak
  • Scented foliage
  • Grows in many types of soils
  • Grows in shady or sunny areas
  • Good for screening and provides all year round privacy
  • Re-shoots when cut back into old wood
  • Nesting site for birds

Should I buy Thuja Plicata Martin for my hedge?

Yes, there are many reasons as to why you should choose Thuja Plicata Martin as your hedge plant. First, it is a fast growing coniferous and will maintain its evergreen color throughout the year, a trait that you definitely want in a hedge.

In addition, this variety of Thuja maintains a conical shape which is deal for hedging especially when you are dealing with a small garden. The fact that it can re-shoot from a cut back into old wood is just amazing as you can be sure that you will maintain a compact hedge even when you cut it wrongly.

It also grows in many types of soils, except waterlogged soil and itproduces a nice scented when crushed or pressed between fingers. If you live in windy areas, this species will provide just the right amount of protection. So, we can confidently say that this is a good hedge plant.