Growing Atlantic White Cedars for Wetland Restoration Sites

Living Observatory"s Native Plant Nursery was established in 2011 in collaboration with Tidmarsh Farms. The nursery was established with the goal of providing native plant species including Atlantic white cedar trees (AWC) to wetland restoration projects at a reasonable cost. In 2016, the nursery provided ~30,000 native plants including 7,000+ AWC for the wetland restoration of Tidmarsh East, now the Mass Audubon Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary. More recently, the nursery has supplied 3-4 year old AWC trees to the Foothills Preserve, the Coonamessett River Restoration and the Childs River Restoration projects.

Why AWC?

Native stands of AWC (Chamaecyparis thyoides) are a unique ecotype that grow in a narrow coastal belt 80 to 210 km (50 to 130 miles) wide from southern Maine to northern Florida and west to southern Mississippi. Typically found in small dense stands in fresh water swamps and bogs, AWC swamps have become increasingly rare due to over harvesting for commercial uses including construction of cranberry farms, as well as wood for boats and houses, and nitrogen pollution from golf courses and septic systems. Wetland restoration of cranberry farms provides an opportunity to try to jumpstart new stands of AWC. Planting specifications included in design plan for these restorations often include a few hundred to thousands of young AWC trees.


-- Glorianna collects AWC seed in 2011 from trees planted in 2009. Photo credit: A. Hackman

Recent Updates

Winterizing the nursery

By Glorianna Davenport on December 10, 2023
The past two weeks, Moses has been helping me winterize the nursery. Tasks include putting pots in pans of water so the roots of the AWC potted trees stay moist, cleaning the plastic ends and cover rolls on the greenhouse, putting up a snow fence, wrapping the groups of larger AWC that are growing up by the house to protect them from the intense sun and drying winds of spring that can be destructive prior to leaf out of the river birches.

Mycorrhizal Research at Tidmarsh Farms

By Olivia Kurz on July 24, 2023
Olivia Kurz, a doctoral student in Ecology at SUNY ESF, will be studying the mycorrhizal fungi (fungi that partner with the roots of plants) communities of Atlantic white cedars at natural cedar swamp sites as well as sites where cedars have recently been restored. Olivia is thrilled that Tidmarsh Wildlife Sanctuary will be one of the sites representing restored Atlantic white cedars. Through this research, Olivia hopes to contribute basic research about the mycorrhizal dynamics of cedar swamps in hopes of contributing knowledge to improve cedar cultivation and cedar swamp ecosystem restoration efforts.


Glorianna Davenport
Alex Hackman
Nick Nelson
Claire Esterman
Irene Caldwell
Olivia Kurz
Christine Hatch