The potential of western red cedar (Thuja plicata D. Don) in Ireland.

  • Karen Bothwell Graduate of University College Dublin, B.Agr.Sc. (Forestry).
Keywords: Western red cedar, Thuja plicata D. Don, nurse species, conifers, afforestation.


Western red cedar (Thuja plicata D. Don) is a species with enormous potential in Ireland. It is highly suited to the island's mild wet climate and the heavy wet soils currently available for forestry development. The species is capable of high growth rates and productivity, and is noted for its high quality timber which possesses several unique wood properties. It is a shade tolerant species suitable for underplanting and for use in mixtures with other conifers, notably Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr.) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco), and also as a nurse species in broadleaf plantations. While its growth rate does not compete with Sitka spruce on poorer site types, especially at higher elevations, western red cedar is capable of producing a high yield class crop on lower, more sheltered drumlin soils and on better quality lowland soils. While more detailed research is required, the favourable characteristics of western red cedar prompt its inclusion as a major species in future planting programmes, particularly in light of the current emphasis on diversification in Irish forestry.
How to Cite
Bothwell, K. (1998) “The potential of western red cedar (Thuja plicata D. Don) in Ireland.”, Irish Forestry. Available at: (Accessed: 17June2024).