February 2023 - Eastern Redcedar

Common Name: Eastern Redcedar

Botanical Name: Juniperus virginiana

Native Range: Native to New Jersey and throughout central and northeastern North America, in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 to 9. Can be found in the sandy and salty soils of Outer Banks North Carolina to the dry soils of the Plains states.

Height: Typical mature height is 40- 50 feet.

Spread: Crown is extremely variable, 20 feet wide in ideal conditions.

Form: Grows in a pyramidal shape.

Growth Rate: Slow to moderate growth rate depending on location.

Sun: Full sun but can tolerate part shade.

Soil: Average, dry to moist, well-drained soil but will tolerate great variability in soil. It is considered the best drought-tolerant of all native conifers.

Leaf Description: Small scalelike/needlelike, olive green to yellowish green, turning bronze after the first frost and staying somewhat reddish through winter. The twigs are green the first year turning reddish brown afterward but remaining aromatic.

Fall Color: Evergreen.

Flower Description: Typically, dioecious. Pollen is spread from February to March. The female cones become fleshy, berrylike, about ¼ inch long, dark blue, covered with a white, waxy coating, globe-shaped; flesh sweet, resinous, with the odor of gin; seeds are within the cone.

Fruit: Fruits August–September. The tree produces a small, round blue fruit that matures in the fall on female trees. Male cones are small, often abundant, golden brown produced at the tips of branches, and contain pollen. The cones are a valuable food source for wildlife.

Bark Description: Reddish brown tapering towards the top and spreading at the base. Red exfoliation on mature trunks. Described by Horticulturist Michael Dirr as handsome.

Wildlife Benefit: Mature trees provide shelter for birds and small wildlife. The berries are a winter favorite for many birds such as cedar waxwings.

Tolerates: Tolerates a wide variety of soil and Princeton deer populations. Dirr describes this confer as one of the few trees that can thrive on neglect.

Possible Diseases and Insect Problems: Bagworm, twig rot, and scale.

Landscape Use: Can be used as a screen in conjunction with other evergreens or specimen trees.

Where to be found on municipal property:

  • Eastern Red Cedar can be found throughout Princeton Open Space.

Additional Facts:

  • A native tree dating back to Aboriginal America
  • Wood is used to make furniture and fences.
  • Was a staple of the pencil industry until supplies were depleted.
  • Native Americans used red cedar to burn as incense during hunting and purification rites.
  • Native Americans used berries to make tea for medicinal purposes.
  • Used as ornamentals in cemeteries.
  • The heartwood is light brown. aromatic, and is commonly used for cedar chests.
  • Wood is rot-resistant.
  • Repels insects and is used for clothing storage and pet bedding.
  • Resistant to deer damage.
  • The eastern red cedar tree is also called the red cedar, eastern juniper, pencil cedar, and red juniper.
  • The fruit and young branches contain oils used for medicinal purposes.
  • Cedar Oil is used in organic insect repellant.
  • The deep roots of the red cedar make it drought resistant and also able to withstand flooding.
  • Berries can be used to make gin.


www.arborday.org › trees › tree Guide Eastern Redcedar Tree on the Tree Guide at arborday.org

https://www.coniferousforest.com/eastern-red-cedar.htm Dirr, M. A.; Manual of Woody Landscape Plants. 2019 


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