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White Cedar disease?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by mccloud, Dec 3, 2016.

  1. mccloud

    mccloud "Tiger Rag" back on the tidal Potomac In Memoriam

    I was paddling in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey last month and saw an awful lot of dead white cedar. Has anyone heard of a disease or pest that accounts for the die-off?
    On the good side, I also saw a lot of wire cages around small white cedar saplings. Apparently the small trees are a favorite browse of deer, so caging them is the only way to give them a chance of growing up. Tom McCloud
  2. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    This past summers severe drought has stressed trees throughout New York and beyond. I believe that NJ also suffered from the lack of rain.
    I would not be surprised if the trees are dying off due to the ground water shortages. Hopefully we will get enough rain this winter to help pull the water levels back up.
    A pond on my hunting property is currently only 1/3rd filled.....the conditions have been really bad. It was completely empty through mid-October.
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I agree with Mike that lower water levels are probably the cause of the many dead white cedars that you observed. The first picture below shows how much the water levels have dropped in central Maine recently. The second picture from a few years ago shows a more typical water level at this time of year. That one also shows the yellow and orange plastic snow fencing that is used to protect the cedars from the deer during the winter. Cedar suffers from an excess of popularity,


    Attached Files:

  4. yelnif

    yelnif another little project

    Would this mean that there are white cedar trees to be harvested? canoe grade? The reason I ask is that here in the CSW we have to order every thing unless it is pine or knarly red cedar. Would it be worth a trip north to get a few WC logs? I have a friend who has a sawmill so cutting into quarter sawn would not be a problem.
  5. shelldrake

    shelldrake LOVES Wooden Canoes

    The white cedar that grows in NJ is Atlantic white cedar Chamaecyparis thyoides. It is a different critter than northern white cedar Thuja occidentalis(same genus as ornamental arbor vitae). Although Atlantic white is commonly used as planking on larger plank-on-frame hulls, my understanding is that northern white is more desireable for canoe planking and ribs.

  6. Fitz

    Fitz Wooden Canoes are in the Blood

    Oops, double post. I would delete, but I can't find the delete. :) Cheers. I could be wrong, but I think NJ white cedar is Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides), not to be confused with Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis). Atlantic is a fine boat building wood, since it is relatively knot free (good planking) in comparison with Northern, but Northern has better steam bending properties etc.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  7. yelnif

    yelnif another little project

    Thanks shelldrake and Fitz. I did not know of a difference between Atlantic WC and Northern WC. You all are so smart.
    Would the Atlantic WC trees still be a viable size to harvest for planking? And use Northern WC for the ribs?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
  8. shelldrake

    shelldrake LOVES Wooden Canoes


    Yes, Atlantic white cedar can be of suitable size for planking. It is often used in planking larger plank on frame hulls. It may be known as "juniper" south of NJ.


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