Eastern White Cedar

The Eastern White Cedar is a small, hardy, slow-growing tree. It usually lives for about 200 years, but can occasionally live much longer. It grows throughout Ontario and is usually found in swampy areas where the rock underneath is limestone.Cones from the eastern white cedar are 7 to 12 millimetres long and grow in clumps of 5 or 6 pairs. Small scaly leaves cover the tree’s fan-shaped twigs and are a yellowish-green colour.The bark of the eastern white cedar is thin and shiny when the tree is young, but separates into flat narrow strips as the tree gets older. White-tailed deer eat the twigs of the eastern white cedar during the winter.

Size: 15 metres tall, trunk 30 centimetres in diameter
Moisture: Prefers moist soil
Shade: Tolerates some shade
Soil: Grows in a variety of soils, but does not tolerate road salt

Source: http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/

Why use White Cedar

  • It has special oils which make it resistant to rot and insects, even in extreme outdoor conditions.
  • It is one of the most decay resistant trees in North America.
  • Its natural resistance to decay makes it a great option for waterfront areas where the chemicals in pressure treated lumber might cause concern.
  • As Cedar dries, it is very stable, and resists warping and shrinking better than most species.
  • It cuts easily, with minimal cracking and splitting.
  • It is one of the lightest Canadian wood species.
  • It is an attractive wood, with great variations in grain, patterns and knots.
  • Having a neutral colour white cedar takes stains or paint easily.


Eastern White Cedar is commercially used for fencing and posts, poles, lumber, shingles and log cabins. It is the preferred wood for the structural components of birch bark and wooden canoes, such as ribs and planking.