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Calocedrus Decurrens or Incense Cedar Tree or White Cedar Tree Are you in search of an evergreen conifer tree which requires virtually zero maintenance? Have a gander at Incense Cedar! Also known as the White Cedar Tree, Calocedrus Decurrens is an evergreen conifer with glossy green foliage arranged on a columnar habit, but wider than some column formers such as the Italian Pencil Cypress.
A member of the Cupressaceae Family, the Genus Calocedrus is known for its tiny, scale-like leaves aligned in ranks on the shoots and creating a flattened spray of foliage. They produce small, ovoid cones. Stepping into the details of C. decurrens, you’ll find a narrowly columnar habit, known for its flaking bark once established. Glossy, rich green sprays of leaves highlight this variety. Its small cones detach fairly soon after setting.
Incense Cedar was first introduced to Britain in the 1850’s from the Western Region of North America, where its origins lie from the State of Oregon all the way to Baja California. Another region of origin was in Eastern Asia. The foliage of the Calocedrus Decurrens resembles Thuja but what sets it apart from most all the other conifers is its formal columnar shape. The entire plant is strongly aromatic, with virtually no issues with pests or diseases.
White Cedar is very cold hardy. Known to withstand temperatures as cold as -20 C, it can grow to an ultimate height over 12 metres and a spread of 4-8 metres in the 20-50 years it takes to reach its full maturity. In its native environments, they can grow to 60 metres with a broad crown, but in the cooler climates of the UK, left on its own in an ideal location, it could reach 30 metres with a much more closely bunched, parallel shoot habit.
In terms of its site preferences, the Incense Cedar Tree prefers full sun to partial shade with aspects by priority ranking South to North to West to East facing. It tolerates both exposed and sheltered positions in the landscape. It prefers well drained soils across most any combination of chalk, clay, sand, and loam. Not terribly choosey regarding pH, White Cedar will do well in slightly acid through to slightly alkaline soils. It can be grown on its own as a nice specimen tree; or align as an avenue planting for creating a low maintenance evergreen screen where space is limited. Once the tree matures, the flaking bark sets it apart as unmistakable.