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Canadian cedar is named by the specific name of a coniferous thermophilic tree that grows in Asia Minor, in the east and south of the Mediterranean, possibly because of its gigantic size and the same durability. Among biologists, the plant is known as Thuja plicata. In Russia, this type of large cypress trees is called giant thuja or folded thuja.
What does the Canadian cedar look like and where does it grow?
The tree, legendarily called among lumberjacks and builders red cedar, belongs, like all thujas, to the Cypress genus. The distribution area is the Pacific coast of North America. In places where Canadian cedar grows, moist and waterlogged slightly acidic soils prevail. Rainfall is abundant throughout the year, winters are mild. The forests in this part of the continent are dense, shady, and consist of powerful conifers: pine, hemlock, larch, fir. There are also various types of thuja.
Canadian cedar is an evergreen tree with a dense columnar crown. The trunk is up to 20-30 meters or more. The butt diameter is more than a meter, in some surviving specimens it reaches 2.5-5 m. Horizontally raised branches extend from the trunk, forming a slender pyramidal silhouette of a tree. The lower branches descend to the ground. The plant lives for centuries, acquiring a majestic appearance. For the most part for this reason and due to the strength of the valuable wood, the pioneers called the folded cedar.
Many varieties of folded thuja grow in gardens up to 10-16 m, but with a compact crown they occupy only 3-5 m in diameter. The tree is fast-growing, growth is 25-28 cm per year, in diameter - 9-11 cm. The bark of a soft brown shade was used by the Indians as a fiber. The dark green needles of the Canadian cedar are scaly, tough, shiny, there are whitish stripes below. Green cones in summer are oval, 10 cm long, turn brown by winter. Now breeders have bred dwarf varieties of Canadian cedar, which are in great demand among landscape designers.
Characteristics of wood
Canadian cedar has unique properties:
- considered one of the most durable wood raw materials, which is equal to metal;
- famous for its resistance to decay;
- not affected by mold;
- the boards are painted in a pleasant reddish, sometimes yellowish, color with shades of amber, pink or chocolate, depending on the age of the tree and the part of the trunk from which they were taken;
- the products are characterized by a remarkable feature - a specific refreshing scent of red cedar wood, which lasts for more than 3 years.
Warning! The strength of products and buildings made of folded thuja raw materials is surprisingly combined with the ease of its processing. The wood does not crack or split when fixing nails or screws.
The use of Canadian cedar in construction
The specific qualities of folded thuja material determine its popularity, first of all, in the construction of luxury housing. The most expensive yachts are also built with durable and water-resistant red cedar wood. The indisputable value of the imported material from the giant thuja determines its high cost.
Canadian cedar for a bath
There is a tradition in the world to build baths and individual infrared cabins from red cedar planks, as well as to sheathe bathrooms with them. Premises lined with a profile made of this material heat up 3-5 times faster than others lined with hardwood boards.
Canadian cedar is perfect for a sauna:
- boards have excellent thermal insulation properties;
- poorly absorbs moisture;
- the cladding is resistant to the peculiarities of the room - changes in temperature and high humidity;
- the hot shelf does not burn the skin upon contact;
- the walls, lined with red cedar, will give the visitors of the bath an invigorating aroma of essential oils, which not only have a beneficial effect on the respiratory system, but also relieve fatigue and anxiety;
- at the same time, the material does not emit as much resin as conifers;
- the finish has a wonderful fine-grained smooth texture and a wide range of shades.
When arranging decoration in red cedar baths, it is not recommended to use iron nails, staples and screws, but stainless steel or aluminum fasteners.
Canadian cedar houses
Residential buildings made from red cedar are as durable as trees. The facades and interiors of houses are sheathed with durable clapboard, it adds an aesthetic component to the practical value, creating elegance and a certain refined style with its texture. Solid floors are laid from it in ordinary residential buildings. But due to its low density, Canadian cedar is not used to build stairs and floors in office buildings, where there is a constant influx of people. In Canada, shingles and shingles made of folded thuja are used for the construction of roofs.
Among the advantages of the material from the thuja giant are mentioned:
- thermal insulation properties that preserve the atmosphere of the room for a long time, surpassing brick and concrete;
- red cedar wood slowly lends itself to fire, so the material does not lend itself to special processing;
- non-susceptibility to insects, pests of wooden products;
- the ability to exude a fresh smell of the breed for a long time.
Red cedar is used at home as solid blanks for power line supports, pillars in the construction of fences. It is the most popular material for creating objects that are susceptible to atmospheric influences: piers, terraces, balconies. It is also suitable for outdoor furniture making. From planks of thuja folded wood, they make products and volumetric structures for finishing inside buildings:
- door frames and door leaves;
Canadian cedar wood pieces stick well together. This method is recommended for the manufacture of tables and cabinets. There is an opinion that in wardrobes made of folded thuja wood, which does not lend itself to pests from grinders, moths do not start.
Operational features of the tree
The wood of red cedar has a successful combination of valuable technical and aesthetic qualities. The material is used without restrictions for outdoor objects, creating original outdoor furniture. Indoors, boards are used for all kinds of furniture designs, finishes in any room. But wood clearly shows its peculiarity not to succumb to the influence of humid air as a cladding of bathrooms, baths or saunas. The practical advantages of Canadian cedar are added to the elegance of the pattern of the finishing panels and the forest scent that lasts for many years.
When operating houses and products from folded thuja, some other points are taken into account:
- wood is poorly impregnated during processing;
- due to their low density, the boards are unsuitable as treads for stairs, since they wear out quickly, like floors in public buildings;
- from the active release of essential oils of red cedar, allergic reactions may occur in people prone to such diseases.
Application in landscape design
Slender pyramidal giant thujas, or red cedars, as they are called in another way, organically fit into a well-kept garden with a large area of lawns. In the arsenal of landscape designers there are many options for compositions with this majestic plant, even in its dwarf form:
- creation of strict alleys;
- imposing tapeworms or groups of 2-3 specimens;
- landing in the entrance area;
- picturesque hedges.
Interesting compositions with variegated needles. Dwarf specimens look best when planted in groups. Folded thuja are successfully combined with their ancestral neighbors: different types of pines, hemlock, fir, cypress trees. They tolerate a haircut well, grow back quickly. The most popular varieties are:
Red cedar is quite frost-resistant, but in the early years it will be necessary to cover the seedlings, because the climate of central Russia is more severe than on the Pacific coast of America. All plants are sold acclimatized, grown in domestic nurseries from seeds.
Attention! All varieties of folded thuja take root well in urban gas pollution, are an excellent plant for landscaping.
Canadian cedar and its varietal varieties are an original solution for a bright spot-focus in a garden composition. Real imported giant thuja wood is the most valuable material in construction.