Scale-like leaves, tiny yellow blooms, and blue berry-like cones characterize the eastern red Cedar, which is an evergreen tree. North America is home to the medium-sized coniferous tree.
The reddish-brown bark, blueish-green leaves that turn bronze in the winter, and columnar or pyramidal structure distinguish the red cedar. Easter red cedars are popular as evergreen hedge plants due to their dense foliage, which makes them stand out as a tall specimen tree.
The eastern red cedar can be identified with this article. This lovely tree in the scenery may be recognized by descriptions and images of the conifer’s leaves, flowers, fruit, and bark.
Facts About Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
The eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a juniper tree that belongs to the Cupressaceae family rather than the Cupresaceae family of true cedars. The coniferous tree is not recognized as a species of genuine cedar, genus Cedrus and family Pinaceae, but it is often referred to as the red cedar, eastern redcedar, or Virginian juniper.
Due to its columnar or pyramidal form, the eastern red cedar is easily recognized in the landscape. In most circumstances, the slow-growing tree retains a pyramidal shape and grows into a small shrub-like evergreen. The tree grows to be between 16 and 66 feet (5 and 20 meters) tall under optimum growing circumstances.
The eastern red cedar grows from South Dakota in the Midwest to the east coast, and its natural range covers North America. In addition, USDA zone 2 in the north, through zone 9 in northern Florida and the eastern region of Texas, are ideal habitats for hardy evergreen conifers.
The eastern red cedar is designated as the most common native coniferous tree in the eastern US, and it thrives on most soil types and spreads quickly in open areas. Red cedar, on the other hand, is considered an invasive tree in some regions. The eastern red cedar has several uses in the garden landscaping due to its hardiness.
It’s a popular example tree because of its columnar development and pointed form, which resembles an exclamation point. A formal hedge of conifer trees also grows. It’s also a popular Christmas tree species.
Eastern Red Cedar Tree Leaves
Soft, scale-like blueish-green or dark green sprays, growing tightly together on the stems, characterize the leaves of the eastern red cedar tree. The four-sided or square branchlets that support the compact leaves. Sharp needle-like leaves, which are thin and prickly, distinguish immature red cedars.
Eastern red cedar leaves create dark green, thick foliage in the landscape. The red cedar leaves retain their green color throughout the winter, as compared to other coniferous trees. In the winter, the needle occasionally takes on a copper-brown tint.
Eastern Red Cedar Bark
A mature tree’s bark is characterized as extremely thin and reddish-brown in color, with gray to reddish-brown tones. The peeling bark of red cedar shredded into long thin strips is easily identified. Immature red cedars have scaly bark that looks smooth, while the grayish scaly bark peels away to reveal red scaly bark.
Eastern Red Cedar Flowers
Little golden yellow inconspicuous flowering buds on the eastern red cedar conifer are known as strobili, which are cone-like structures. The red cedar blooms are cone-shaped structures that are classified as strobili by botanists. The male red cedar blooms are 0.06 inch (1.5 mm) in length and oval to egg-shaped. Female cedar flowers are greenish yellow in color, and they are comparable to male cedar flowers.
Eastern Red Cedar Fruit
Little blue berry-like cones that are related to juniper berries are called red cedar fruit cones in the eastern United States. The tiny blue cedar berries on the tree are frosted, and they grow in abundance. In comparison to juniper berries with a sweet pine-like flavor, blue edible berries have a better taste.
Eastern Red Cedar Seed Cones
The blue berries give rise to the cones on the eastern red cedar tree. The irregular egg-shaped red cedar cones have one to three seeds and are irregular in shape. After ten or 20 years, eastern red cedars start to produce seed-bearing cones. Cedars reach maturity after two or three years and start producing seed-bearing cones.
Eastern Red Cedar Tree Growth Rate
The growth rate of eastern red cedar trees is slow to moderate. At a height of roughly 40 or 50 feet (12 – 15 m), the coniferous red cedar develops at a rate of 12 to 24 inches (30–45 cm) each year. For the majority of its life, the single-stemmed tree retains its columnar, pyramidal form.
Eastern Red Cedar Tree Identification
The dark green or blue-green needle-like leafy sprays, abundant blue edible berries, and tiny rounded brown seeds identify the eastern red cedar. Eastern red cedars have a distinctive pyramidal crown and grow to around 50 feet (15 meters) tall when they reach maturity in the landscape.
Eastern Red Cedar Varieties
For a front or back yard, there are several types of eastern red cedars to choose from. Most soil types support red cedar cultivars, which are very cold-hardy. Foundation plantings, evergreen hedges, privacy screens, ground cover, and specimen trees are all examples of dwarf, compact varieties that are ideal for growing. The following are some red cedar types:
Globe Eastern Red cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Globosa’) — With sprays of green scale-like needles, the Globosa red juniper is a compact, rounded evergreen shrub. The Globosa red cedar is suitable as a hedge, foundation planting, evergreen border, or privacy screen and grows 5 to 10 feet (1.5 to 3 meters) tall.
Silver Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Glauca’) — A tall, slender evergreen tree with a narrow columnar form, the ‘Glauca’ red cedar cultivar is a popular choice. Drought, heat, and freezing are all tolerated by this hardy cultivar. As a tall, narrow accent specimen tree, plant the silver eastern red cedar.
Grey Owl Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’) — The silvery-green scaly needles of the Grey Owl red cedar are a low-growing coniferous shrub. The 3 ft. (1 m) tall and 6 ft. (1.8 m) wide spreading shrub develops from seed to maturity. In a small garden, plant the Grey Owl junipers as ground cover, border plant, or accent plant.
Silver Spreader Juniper (Juniperus virginiana ‘Silver Spreader’) — For tiny areas or containers, the Silver Spreader juniper shrub is a great evergreen option. Dense foliage emerges from the silvery-gray soft, scaly needles. For ground cover, a low-growing hedge, or an evergreen plant that grows 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 1 m) tall and up to 6 feet (1.8 m) wide, the Silver Spreader is ideal.
Eastern Red Cedar Hedge
Eastern red cedar is a great shrub since it is a dense evergreen hedgerow. Because of its columnar development, hardness, and tight foliage, the tree will be excellent as a windbreak, privacy screen, living wall, or hedge. In addition, shrub-like conifers can be grown on any soil type, including acidic and alkaline soils. The most extreme weather conditions have no effect on them.
Eastern Red Cedar Landscape Use
The aromatic leaves and berries of the eastern red cedar provide year-round aesthetic appeal. It is a long-lived evergreen plant. There are many options for using red cedars in your garden landscape because they grow in virtually every condition and tolerate pollution.
Tall, thin cultivars, for example, are excellent accent plants or specimen plants. To place on a patio, container garden, deck, or beside an entranceway, some of the dwarf red cedar varieties make for excellent container plants. In addition, birds and other animals are drawn to the blue aromatic red cedar berries.
How to Plant Eastern Red Cedar Tree
Plant an eastern red cedar in a sunny location in your yard with rich, well-draining soil. Dig a hole three to four times the size of the container, but at the same depth. Next, position the root ball in the hole with care, ensuring that it grows at the same level. Backfill the hole with a shovel to securely seal the earth after transferring the tree from the container to the ground.
Spread a 3″ to 4″ (7.5 – 10 cm) layer of pine bark mulch over the root area after planting the eastern red cedar. Remember to leave a few inches of space between the stem and the bulb. Lastly, give the newly planted juniper tree plenty of water.
To ensure adequate air circulation, plant the eastern cedar at a distance of 5 to 7 feet (1.5 to 2.1 m). If you want to grow a red cedar hedge, plant the cedars 2 to 3 feet (0.6 to 1 m) apart. This will allow you to be protected from the wind, intruders, and prying eyes while allowing the branches to grow together into a tightly-packed hedgerow.
Top tip when planting Juniperus virginiana: Planting an eastern red cedar in the fall allows the roots system to develop properly.
Where to Plant Eastern Red Cedar
In well-drained, moist soil, grow an eastern red cedar in full sun or partial shade. The juniper tree should receive between two and six hours of sunlight every day, depending on the species. As a result, it’s important to keep the red cedar from growing in full shade; otherwise, it will be stunted. The soil type does not matter to eastern red cedars. The hardy, robust conifers flourish on acidic and alkaline soils, but they thrive in fertile soils. The eastern red cedar will grow on little care and attention, even if your garden soil is rocky or sandy.
When growing an eastern red cedar in your yard, there are two important factors to consider. Soggy soil is first and foremost intolerable to them. Therefore, make sure that the growing site is well-drained at all times. Second, make sure that the tree receives at least two hours of sunlight every day.
The susceptibility of an eastern red cedar to the rust fungus Gymnosporangium juniperi – virginianae is another factor to consider when growing it. A red cedar’s leaves may be infected with the cedar-apple foliage disease, which may cause horns to develop. Apple, pear, and quince trees are also susceptible to it. Therefore, within 500 feet (150 meters) of pome fruit trees, don’t plant eastern red cedars.
Eastern Red Cedar Tree Care Guide
An eastern red cedar in your garden is a good subject for discussion.
How to Water Eastern Red Cedar
An eastern red cedar requires little watering as it grows in the landscape. During hot weather, you may water the conifer thoroughly once per week to maintain the soil moist. You don’t usually have to supply extra water in most situations. You don’t have to water the tree at all during late autumn through early spring. Drought tolerance in eastern red cedars is moderate. As a result, they can survive without water for a long time.
It’s important to water the plant weekly during the first year after it’s been planted with newly-planted eastern red cedars. This aids the creation of a strong root system. Only water the soil when the top 2 inches (5 cm) is dry while growing an eastern red cedar shrub in a container. Lastly, use enough water to flow out of the pot’s drainage holes. This helps you keep the soil around the root mass at a comfortable level without being soggy.
Eastern Red Cedar Fertilization
The eastern red cedar requires minimal fertilization since it is an easy-care landscaping conifer. Instead of boosting foliage growth, choose a appropriate tree fertilizer to enhance woody development when you apply fertilizer. Nevertheless, most often, the juniper gets enough nutrients from applying a layer of compost or pine bark mulch in the spring.
Eastern Red Cedar Propagation
Eastern red cedars may be propagated most easily by taking hardwood cuttings in the late fall or winter. Cut a 45° angle along a 3″ to 6″ (7.5 – 15 cm) piece of branch. The bark should be light brown and the cutting should be flexible. The bottom section should be removed first.
Place the red cedar branch into a soilless potting medium to start your cutting. Seal the pot in a plastic bag after pressing the soil around the red cedar cutting. In a bright, warm area, but not in direct sunlight, place the container. Moisture is important.
A red cedar cutting takes around four weeks to root. Planting a rooted cutting when it has been growing in the container for at least three months is the best time. Therefore, until late autumn when you can put it in your garden, it’s preferable to keep the conifer growing in the pot.
How to Prune Eastern Red Cedar
The attractive conical shape of eastern red cedars makes little trimming required. After the first year, you only have to chop off some of the lower limbs from the conifer. The tree’s trunk and foundation may now be accessed. Trimming the leaves of an eastern red cedar hedge, on the other hand, might help it maintain its form.
Pests Affecting Eastern Red Cedar Trees
Several garden pests do not affect eastern red cedars. Bagworms, juniper webworms, aphids, and juniper scale insects are some pests that may cause significant damage. Pest infestations, on the other hand, are seldom fatal to conifers. When you have eastern red cedars, bagworm caterpillars can be a problem.
Only when they are feeding on foliage do the brown caterpillars construct silky protective nests. Removing bagworms from a juniper tree by hand is the best option. Webworms, on the other hand, are difficult to detect and eliminate.
Since they resemble rough growths on the tree, scale insects are difficult to detect. If you notice scale on the sap-sucking insects, you may apply rubbing alcohol to kill them on contact. By pouring a forceful stream of water onto the tree with the hose, you may quickly eliminate aphids.
Eastern Red Cedar Plant Diseases
Cedar-apple rust is the most prevalent disease that affects eastern red cedars, and it has a close-up picture. Jelly-like horns develop on twigs and branches as a result of this illness. After warm, rainy weather in the spring, you are likely to see the condition.
As a result, in the spring, removing the afflicted branches is the optimum strategy for dealing with cedar-apple rust. If the twig blight strikes the red cedar conifer, you may notice the brown tips developing. The best way to improve your tree’s health is to remove the effected branches again.
When growing an eastern red cedar tree, another problem is root rot. Avoiding overwatering a juniper tree is the best strategy to prevent diseased roots from having an effect on its growth. Drought tolerant red cedars may live for a long time without extra care.