Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Eastern Red-cedar, Redcedar

Eastern Red-cedar, Redcedar

Juniperus virginiana

Full to part sun; medium to moderately dry moisture level; tolerates a wide range of soils including, sandy, sandy loam, medium loam, clay loam, clay and rocky; slightly acid to alkaline pH.

30-50 feet height by 8-20 feet spread; grayish to bluish green flowers with a frosty bloom in spring into summer; gray to blackish green berry-like cones, ¼ inch in diameter, in summer.

Growth Rate: Slow. However, its tendency to re-seed can make it invasive.

Maintenance: No serious insect or disease problems. Cedar apple rust, a fungal disease, is common in many areas. This can be injurious to nearby apple orchards since Redcedar is an alternate host for cedar apple rust.

Propagation: Seed germination code C (30-120) at 41 degrees F. or plant outdoors in fall. Moderately easy from seed. Seed germination is often poor so a large number of seeds should be sown.

Native Region: Statewide

This is a small, evergreen tree displaying a great diversity in shape and needle color, with scale-like, blue green to olive green foliage. Needles are pleasantly aromatic and generally covered in a waxy bloom. Gray to reddish-brown bark exfoliates in thin strips on mature trees. In winter, foliage often develops a burgundy cast in response to the cold. Heartwood is light brown and aromatic and is often used for cedar chests. Male and female cones occur on separate trees. In the eastern U.S., junipers occur primarily as an early successional tree, colonizing abandoned agricultural land and roadsides where it grows well until taller trees get established and shade them out. Junipers are rugged and survive well in degraded soil and hot, windy exposures. Has best drought resistance of any conifer native to the eastern U.S. Not really a cedar at all but actually a juniper. Many cultivars available.

Very high wildlife value. Birds love the berry-like female cones, including the Cedar Waxwing which is named for this tree. Provides important nesting cover for birds. Attracts butterflies and is host plant for the Olive butterfly.

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