Eastern red cedar tree

What Type of Tree Has Green Balls?

Michael Blann/Photodisc/Getty Images

Some trees can be curiosities, producing fruit that is unusual enough to draw attention. A number of trees produce large, green, round fruits that may be attractive or just strange and attention-grabbing. For those who have trees like these located in their landscapes, these fruits may be a mixed blessing. While providing a pleasant shady environment, these trees may litter the yard with dropped fruit.

Osage Orange Trees

The Osage orange (Maclura pomifera), hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 9, isn’t actually an orange, but the fruit resembles oranges in size and skin texture. The trees are large and can reach 60 feet with great age. It isn’t a friendly tree, because it not only produces thorns but female trees bear heavy, 3- to 5-inch-wide fruits that litter landscapes and are difficult to clean up. The milky sap can sometimes cause allergic reactions on the skin. However, the fruits are interesting and are sometimes used as temporary decorations in fruit bowl displays.

Walnut Trees

Both English (Juglans regia) and black walnuts (Juglans nigra), hardy in USDA zones 5 through 9, produce heavy green round-to-oval fruits. Most people don’t choose walnuts as a landscape tree, but they are occasionally found as remnants of orchards or as chance seedlings that grew untended. Although walnuts are very large trees and produce great shade, the green fruits are messy, difficult to clean up and often stain cement, hands or other items. Other plants don’t grow well under walnuts due to chemicals emitted by the roots and litter.

London Plane and American Sycamore Trees

London plane (Platanus x acerifolia), hardy in USDA zones 3 through 10, and American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), hardy in USDA zones 4 through 9, are from the same genus and therefore bear similar fruits and habits. They are popular, large shade trees with maple-like leaves. Each bears spiky green fruits that age to brown when mature. These ball-shaped fruits are about 1 inch across and break apart when mature, dispersing silky seeds.

Chestnut Trees

Chestnuts are large trees that are used ornamentally or for food production. Each produces spiky green fruits that crack open to reveal shiny nuts about 2 inches across. However similar they may seem, the fruit from the horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), hardy in USDA zones 3 through 8, is not edible, while the edible chestnut (Castanea spp.), hardy in USDA zones 3 through 11, is considered a delicious treat. The edible chestnuts have green husks covered in spiny, needle-like protrusions, while the inedible chestnuts bear husks with sharp, warty protrusions that do not cover the entire surface of the husk. Chestnut trees make great shade trees and produce pretty flowers but can be a hazard due to the potential for being struck by or stepping on the spiky fruits.

Juniperus virginiana: Eastern Red Cedar Seeds

Zones: 3 to 9
Mature Height: 50 feet
Mature Spread: 15 feet

The Eastern Red Cedar is dense and pyramidal in shape and is native to North America. A tough tree bearing red/gray bark and a source of fragrant cedar wood. Beautiful dark green foliage that is both needle-like and scale-like. Great as a specimen, screen, windbreak or in groupings.

When choosing a location, keep in mind that the Eastern Red Cedar has a moderate to rapid growth rate. It grows up to 50 feet in height and 15 feet in spread. It can be planted in zones 3 to 9. Prefers full sun and well-drained soil, but is tolerant of adverse soil conditions. Drought and heat tolerant. Adaptable to different pH levels.

How To Start These Seeds:
Scarification: Soak in water, let stand in water for 6 hours
Stratification: Cold stratify for 90 days
Germination: Sow seed 1/4 inch deep, tamp the soil, keep moist, mulch the seed bed, cover seedbed with some shade.
Other: Natural fall sowing for spring germination.

Seed Count Per Packet:
This packet contains 40 hand-sorted, high-quality seeds.

If refrigerated upon receipt, these seeds can be stored for up to a year before you decide to use them.

The Pros and Cons of the Eastern Redcedar

  • By Pat Chadwick
  • /
  • December 2017 – Vol. 3 No. 12
  • /

When is a cedar not a cedar? When it’s an eastern redcedar. The name is a misnomer. This plant is actually a juniper, as its botanical name (Juniperus virginiana) indicates. True cedars belong to the Cedrus genus and are not native to this country. Sources are inconsistent on the treatment of the common name, variously referring to it as eastern red cedar (two words), eastern redcedar (one word), eastern red-cedar (hyphenated), and red cedar, among many other names.

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar tree)

To say this plant has an image problem is an understatement. It has been snubbed over the years by tree aficionados, partially because it is so common. This ubiquitous native evergreen is the most widely distributed conifer in the eastern part of North America. It grows prolifically along fencerows, highways, and back roads, as well as in pastures and open fields that are not routinely mowed or maintained. The seedlings can rapidly take over a piece of land, making this tree equivalent to a “first responder” in populating abandoned properties and neglected fields. It would not be unreasonable to regard this plant as weedy and even invasive in poorly managed sites. In fact, it has been documented as a threat to prairie and scrubland ecosystems in states such as Oklahoma and Kansas.

Another problem with the eastern redcedar is its role as an alternate host for cedar-apple rust, a Gymnosporangium pathogen that is destructive to pome fruit trees such as apple, pear, and quince. By the way, pome fruits are members of the plant family Rosaceae, sub-family pomoideae.

Despite the negatives just cited, the eastern redcedar has plenty of good qualities. It is:

• Resistant to extremes of drought, heat, and cold. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of global warming, this is a plant that can take such conditions with aplomb.
• Tolerant of a wide range of soils — poor dry soil, alkaline soil, and dry rocky outcrops, as well as wet swampy land.
• Tolerant of windy conditions, so much so that the species was planted as windbreaks to offset the dust bowl conditions of the 1930s.
• Salt tolerant, which means it can be used near roads, driveways, and sidewalks. It can tolerate brackish marshy sites in the southeastern part of Virginia and coastal sand dunes that are subject to salt spray.
• A significant source of food and shelter for wildlife. The blue fruits on the female trees are consumed by a wide variety of wildlife, including the Cedar Waxwing songbird, which is named for this tree.
• A moderate to long-lived evergreen. Some specimens have been known to live more than 500 years. Large specimens are often found in old cemeteries and other older, undisturbed properties.


Not to be confused with the western redcedar (Thuja plicata), which is native to the western U.S. and an entirely different species, the eastern redcedar is native to the eastern half of the United States. Hardy in USDA zones 2 – 9, it is widely distributed from Canada to Florida and west to Texas.
Below ground, an eastern redcedar seedling initially has a penetrating taproot. But as the plant ages, it develops an extensive shallow, fibrous root system enabling it to persist on outcrops and shallow soils. Above ground, the tree grows 1’ to 2’ per year on a single trunk. It matures at about 40’ to 50’ tall and 8’ to 20’ wide, becoming rounder with age. Very old specimens are capable of growing 80’ or more feet tall and 30’ or more feet wide. The national champion eastern redcedar, located in the Lone Hill Methodist Church Cemetery in Coffee County, Georgia, is 57’ tall with a 75’ wide crown spread.

Female eastern redcedar tree with masses of bluish berry-like cones

Eastern redcedars are dioecious, which means that male and female trees are separate plants. It’s easy to tell the difference between the two. While both bloom in late winter, female eastern redcedars produce green flowers and the males produce yellow flowers. The female trees bear small (quarter-inch), fleshy, berry-like cones that appear in spring and mature in the fall. The “berries” are generally blue with a whitish bloom, giving them a gray-blue appearance, and contain 1 to 4 seeds each. The male trees bear brown, pollen-bearing cones on the branch tips. Their pollen is dispersed by the wind.

The fragrant, scale-like foliage is sticky to the touch and can be coarse or fine-cut. It varies in color from gray or blue-green to dark green and tends to “bronze” In winter.

Scale-like Foliage of Eastern Redcedar Tree


First observed at Roanoke Island, Virginia in 1564, and described by the early colonists as “the tallest and reddest cedars in the world,” the eastern redcedar quickly became prized for building purposes. Finding the heartwood to be rot-resistant, the colonists used it to construct furniture, rail fences, poles, coffins, and log cabins. It is famously known for its fragrant oil, which is a natural insect repellant. Because the scent repels moths, the aromatic wood has been used for centuries in the construction of chests, closets, and wardrobes to protect woolen clothing. Redcedar sawdust or wood chips may also be used in kennel bedding to repel fleas and minimize odors.

Prior to 1940, pencils were made almost entirely from cedar but are now made from cheaper wood sources or synthetic materials.
In the past, eastern redcedars were commonly used as Christmas trees. While still used in parts of the south, the species is not extensively grown for this purpose anymore, possibly because it may be slower growing than other commercially grown evergreens. When used for decorations, it gives off a strongly scented perfume, making a house smell wonderfully festive.


The dense branches of the eastern redcedar provide important refuge and shelter for song birds and game birds, such as quails, bobwhites, ruffed grouse, pheasants, and turkeys. Butterflies and small mammals also benefit from the cover this tree provides. The soft, silvery bark peels off in long, flexible strips which squirrels and other small mammals use in their nest materials. The berries are an important source of food for more than 50 bird species as well as a variety of mammal species, including rabbits, foxes, raccoons, skunks, opossums, and coyotes. The twigs and foliage are often eaten by hoofed browsers, such as mule deer and whitetail deer.


Juniper berries, which are used to flavor gin, are purported to come from this species but, in fact, come from a related species, Juniperus communis. American Indians did make a tea from the twigs as a remedy for sore throats and coughs but the berries themselves are believed to be mildly toxic.


The cultural requirements for this tree seem to run counter to what most plants prefer. This tree can grow under conditions that would cause other species to crash and burn. While it can tolerate just about any growing conditions, other than full shade, it does best in deep, moist, well-drained alluvial soil with a pH value ranging from 4.7 to 7.8 and full sun to part shade.


Eastern redcedar is easily propagated by seed. In fact, birds and small mammals eat the berries and then “disperse” the seeds along fence lines, telephone lines, or other perching sites. Cultivars, however, need to be propagated from stem cuttings in order to get a clone of the parent plant.


Apple-Cedar Rust Gall on Eastern Redcedar Tree

The eastern redcedar should be planted a minimum of 500’ away from apple trees. As previously mentioned, it is an alternative host for cedar-apple rust, a fungal disease that causes serious leaf and fruit spot damage on apple trees. The disease has a minor effect on the eastern redcedar itself. Galls containing the fungal spores appear on twigs in early April as tiny dimpled growths, ranging in size from 0.375” to more than 1” in diameter. Warm spring rains trigger the galls to produce gelatinous, orange, starfish-like protrusions called telial horns. The telial horns dry up and fall off with the arrival of dry weather but, by then, the rust spores will have floated away. The disease can be prevented from spreading to apple trees by spraying the galls in early April with a suitable fungicide.

Eastern redcedars are relatively free of serious pest and disease problems. They are, however, susceptible to bagworms, which should be picked off and destroyed before the eggs hatch. Don’t put the bagworms in the compost. The eggs can live in the compost and hatch out later. Seal them in a plastic bag and put them in the trash or place them in a pail of soapy water so that they drown.


A number of eastern redcedar cultivars have been bred to capture some of the more desirable aspects of the species. Many of the cultivars may be more suitable in modern landscapes than the straight species. Available in various shades of green or gray, the cultivars can be tall and narrow or short and spreading and several shapes in between. Just a few of the 34 cultivars listed in Michael A. Dirr’s Manual of Woody Landscape Plants include:

Eastern redcedar cultivar ‘Burkii’ at the U.S. Botanic Garden

• ‘Burkii’, a non-flowering male cultivar with a narrow, pyramidal shape ranging in height from 10’ to 15’ with a spread of 4’ to 10’. Although this cultivar has good resistance to the cedar-apple rust pathogen, it is best not to plant it near apple trees.

• ‘Emerald Sentinel’, a female eastern redcedar cultivar that produces abundant fruits. It has a narrow, conical-shaped form and grows about 25’ tall and 8’ wide. This cultivar generally retains its dark green color throughout the winter months. In 1997, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society named this selection as a “Gold Medal” plant. Described as one of the toughest plants available, ‘Emerald Sentinel’ is tolerant of extreme climatic and soil conditions.

• ‘Blue Arrow’, a small, upright, non-flowering cultivar with attractive blue-green foliage. This narrow, columnar tree only grows 15’ tall by 2’ wide, making it an excellent choice as a vertical element in a mixed border, a featured tree in a small garden, or as a hedge. Its shorter size also makes it a good choice under power lines.

• ‘Canaertii’, a conical female tree form with dark green foliage that takes on a brownish cast in the winter. This cultivar produces a heavy fruit set. It grows 30’ tall and 8’ to 15’ wide. Its habit becomes looser and more open with age.

• ‘Taylor’, a densely branched, columnar cultivar that typically grows 15’ to 20’ tall but only 3’ to 4’ wide. In higher elevations and dry sites, this cultivar develops more leaf wax, giving the foliage a silvery-blue color that stays attractive throughout the growing season. This cultivar has a formal look to it, similar to that of an Italian Cypress. The Missouri Botanical Garden selected this cultivar as a Plant of Merit for its outstanding quality and dependable performance. To quality for this honor, the plant needed to be easy to grow and maintain as well as have outstanding ornamental value.

‘Grey Owl’ cultivar — a shrub form of Juniperus virginiana

• ‘Grey Owl’, a broad, slow-growing shrub form with finely textured silvery gray foliage. This female form produces large amounts of berries on a compact, wide-spreading shrub that grows 3‘ tall and 6’ wide. This cultivar has good resistance to cedar apple rust.

• ‘Pendula’, a good specimen tree, which grows to 40’ tall and 15’ to 25’ wide. The branch tips droop, giving the tree a weeping habit. This female form features abundant blue, fleshy cones.


Use eastern redcedar as a specimen plant or in groups. Use it planted as a hedge, a border, a screen, or as a windbreak. It can even be clipped into a topiary form. Some of the smaller forms may be planted in large pots for display purposes or in a mixed shrub border. This species may be used in large rain gardens or on slopes to help stabilize soil.


On the one hand, eastern redcedar is a native tree with many positive attributes that make it a desirable woody plant in the modern landscape. On the other hand, this plant can potentially have a negative impact in some ecosystems if it is not managed well. And therein lies the dilemma. In the past, controlled fires kept the tree from populating open fields. As human populations increased and spread across the country, controlled fires ceased being a viable option. In addition, many properties are no longer aggressively managed, resulting in conditions that are more ideal for the spread of this tree than in the past. As a minimum, the eastern redcedar can be a nuisance tree, particularly in open fields and abandoned properties where young seedlings are not regularly mowed or dug out. Worst case, it has the capacity to negatively impact certain ecosystems by crowding out other species. Those conditions notwithstanding, the eastern redcedar has three significant advantages going for it. It is able to withstand adverse growing conditions that many other tree species cannot tolerate. The rot-resistant heartwood makes it a very valuable timber tree. It is an important source of food and shelter for a wide variety of wildlife species. For these reasons alone, this species deserves a place in the landscape. In a controlled environment and in the right setting, it is a landscape asset worth having.


A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America (Peattie, Donald Culross, 1977)

Manual of Woody Landscape Plants, Sixth Edition (Dirr, Michael A., 2009)

Native Plants of the Southeast (Mellichamp, Larry. 2014)

“For the Birds, Butterflies, and Hummingbirds: Creating Inviting Habitats,” Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) Publication HORT-59, ext.vt.eduedu/HORT-59

“Trees and Shrubs that Tolerate Saline Soils and Salt Water Draft,” VCE Publication 430-031, ext.vt.edu/430/430-031

“Eastern redcedar,” Virginia Cooperative Extension Publication, pubs.ext.vt.edu/3010-1477

“Eastern redcedar,” dendro.cnre.vt.edu//factsheet (Virginia Tech Landowner Fact Sheet)

“Eastern Redcedar,” National Forest Service, na.fs.fed.us

“Juniperus virginiana,” Purdue University Center for New Crops and Plants Products, www.hort.purdue.edu

“Juniperus virginiana,” University of Connecticut College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources Plant Database, Univ.of Conn. Plant Database

The Morton Arboretum, Fact Sheets, www.mortonarb.org/eastern-red-cedar

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Gold Medal Plants, phsonline.org/gold-medal-plants/juniperus-virginiana

“Juniperus virginiana — Another Look,” The Scott Arboretum’s Gardenseeds blog, gardenseeds.swarthmore.edu//2011/juniperus-virginiana

Red Cedar Tree

Eastern Red Cedar Tree – Juniperus Virginiana For Sale Affordable Grower Direct Prices Tennessee Wholesale Nursery

Eastern Red Cedar trees are beautiful, Hardy and Lives For Many Many Years.

Buy Fast Growing Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern Red Cedar trees are stunning evergreens that are native to most of the United States, and some parts of Canada. With deep reddish-brown trunks and lovely evergreen leaves sprinkled with blueberry-like seed cones, these trees provide a beautiful view. They also give shade in which to enjoy it, thanks to their dense foliage. They’re quite pleasing to the eye, and the cedar wood scent the emanate makes them appealing to the nose as well. Blooming in winter, they grow at an average rate, up to about 24 inches per year, and they can average about 30 to 60 feet in total. They are sturdy trees with long lives, some being up to 700 years old. This may be due to their durability, as they can withstand almost any temperature, hot or cold. They’re also strong enough to last through droughts and tolerate salt reasonably well.

Eastern Red Cedar Trees are most common in the United States and are the #1 Favorite old fashioned Christmas Tree Due To Its longevity and fragrance Eastern Red Cedars can be used in every landscape design and project.

More than just being a beautiful addition to the landscape, these trees can be used in a wide variety of ways: they are great wind-breakers (which makes them excellent for farms), they act as insect and moth repellents (fantastic for anyone), they are aromatic, and the wood can be used to keep closets and other things fresh, and their pyramidal shape makes them perfect Christmas trees. These trees are great for wildlife, too, attracting butterflies and providing shelter for a plethora of bird species, including dove and robins. Though they can grow in plenty of environments, they’re most common in the central United States. They grow best in wide, open spaces where they can receive the full force of the sun, but they still thrive in city environments. Soil is no issue, as they can grow in just about any type. They’re beautiful, sturdy, useful trees that can flourish just about anywhere. With all the Red Cedar has to offer, it’s hard not to be impressed by these magnificent trees.

Red Cedar Tree

The Red Cedar Tree is a native species to North America and commonly found in the eastern states as well as southern Canada. Red Cedar is considered to be a large tree species and can grow to be over 60 feet tall. One of the oldest Red Cedar Trees has been reported to be nearly 1000 years old. This deciduous tree species commonly found in prairie and scrubland areas. During the majority of the year, the Red Cedar bears dark green leaves. In the Fall months, these trees produce small, pale berries that are typically blue.

Caring for a Red Cedar tree is relatively simple and requires little work on your part after planting. These trees are known to be able to withstand the elements and show significant resilience. Red Cedars can also tolerate a variety of soil types, including sandy, alkaline, and rocky soil types. This tree species is salt tolerant as well, which allows this species to be planted almost anywhere, especially along streets and walkways. Red Cedar Trees are a long-living tree that survives even the most adverse elements. If you are looking for a large, resilient tree species that are low maintenance, then the Red Cedar Tree is a perfect pick.

Eastern Red Cedar Tree

Durable Evergreen Grows Nearly Anywhere

Why Eastern Red Cedar Trees?

Eastern Red Cedar Trees reliably grow almost anywhere in the country. In fact, they can handle the cold up north and heat in the south. They stand up to a variety of different extreme weather conditions, from ice and snow to heat waves and droughts.
And their thick foliage and large mature height make them the perfect candidate for privacy trees. They’ll block out noisy neighbors and the bustling city life to turn your yard into your own relaxing private getaway. They also make for perfect wind and noise screens. Use them to line your driveway so they’ll prevent snow from blowing in and building up, or block out the noise created by traffic.
Deep green foliage grows on a pyramidal shape, creating a stunning, elegant evergreen look that will amaze your guests and neighbors all year. The Eastern Red Cedar’s thick foliage creates a shelter for wildlife during unpleasant weather conditions. In the winter, small blue-hued berries emerge from these trees, attracting birds.
Even better? Eastern Red Cedar Trees have a naturally sweet woodsy scent that repels pests. Many people clip a few branches and use them for a natural bug repellent indoors, and as decorative accents during the holidays.

Why Fast-Growing-Trees.com is Better

You won’t find a healthier, better developed Eastern Red Cedar Tree at your local garden center…if you can even find one. We’ve planted, grown and shipped your Red Cedar with meticulous care, so you get a hassle-free tree that’s ready to thrive in your landscape.

In fact, when you buy our larger sizes, you can get privacy as the first season in your landscape.

And unlike other retailers, we never ship bare-root. Your Eastern Red Cedar arrives at your door in nutrient-rich soil, ready to thrive as soon as it’s planted. The only work for you is picking the perfect spot!
Due to the variety of different uses for this tree, as well as its unmatched beauty, it sells out fast. We recommend ordering your Eastern Red Cedar today…before they’re gone!

Planting & Care

1. Planting: Eastern Red Cedar Trees are full sun lovers that require at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. They also prefer moist soil, though they can tolerate dry conditions and most soil types.

Dig a hole that is twice as big around as your shipped container and just as deep. Remove your tree from the container and gently comb the roots to loosen the roots. Place the tree in the hole, ensuring that the root ball is level. Backfill the hole and cover the area with mulch to help protect the roots.

2. Watering: Eastern Red Cedar Trees can tolerate moist soil but do like to dry out some while establishing. Water when the soil is dry about 2 inches down – the timing will vary depending on climate and conditions.

3. Fertilizing: Eastern Reds do not need regular fertilization. You can fertilize the first spring to give them a boost – an evergreen-specific fertilizer is ideal.

4. Pruning: Eastern Red Cedars need little, if any, pruning. You can prune to maintain size and shape, but regular pruning is not required.

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Eastern Red Cedar often turn a reddish or even purplish color due to winter exposure, and to the untrained eye one might conclude that they are damaged or dying. However, this color change is quite normal, and the trees will green up quickly in the warmer weather of Spring.

Watch how to plant evergreen seedling plugs faster and with less effort than any other type of “bare root” evergreen tree. With just a cordless drill, a garden cart or wheelbarrow, a 5 gallon bucket of water, and any old/dull/rusty 1 inch drill bit you have lying around, you can realistically plant one plug seedling per minute. Your back will thank us later 🙂

Eastern Red Cedar plug seedlings: characteristics and info

• prefershardiness zones 3-9
• prefers full sun
• mature height and spread: up to 40 ft high, 10-15 ft spread
• prefers lighter soils, sandier soils, drier soils, well draining soils, does well in poor soils
• Missouri Botanical Garden info on Juniperus virginiana
• Eastern Red Cedar Sizes and Availability:
— Eastern Red Cedar seedlings
— Eastern Red Cedar plug seedlings
— Eastern Red Cedar plug transplants

— Eastern Red Cedar conservation grade plug transplants
• Comparable alternative species: White Cedar, Western Red Cedar. Confused about species? Check out our Evergreen Tree Buyers Guide
CURRENTLY SOLD OUT in this species in this size, see options above. Please consider joining our very unobtrusive email list to be notified when we begin selling and shipping this species in this size. You may also request a custom invoice to reserve these trees in your name for a later ship date.
Prices below include all shipping and handling and a one year guarantee*:
5-pack for $32.00 (5 evergreen plug seedlings)
10-pack for $45.00 (10 evergreen plug seedlings)
25-pack for $77.00 (25 evergreen plug seedlings)
50-pack for $120.00 (50 evergreen plug seedlings)
100-pack for $179.00 (100 evergreen plug seedlings)

Plug seedlings are shipped in bundles, but we offer individual plastic packaging, eco-friendly packaging, cotton gift bag packaging and custom laser cut pendants for all sizes of plug seedlings and plug transplants, sold separately in matching quantities.

Eastern red-cedar

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun with well-drained soil.
Adaptable to high pH (alkaline) soils.
Tolerant of dry, windy conditions once established.
Prune in early spring.

Disease, pests, and problems

Cedar rusts (cedar-apple, cedar-hawthorn and cedar-quince) and bagworm are common.

Native geographic location and habitat

C-Value: 2
East and central North America; often found in sunny, limestone outcropping, along fencerows and roadsides.

Bark color and texture

Trees often develop exfoliating reddish brown bark.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Prickly, silvery-blue foliage (needle-like and/or scale-like).
Winter needles often turn a bronzy-green. Some cultivars keep their color all winter.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Male plants produce small, inconspicuous cones that produce pollen.
Female plants produce berry-like cones that, if pollinated, ripen to a bloomy blue-gray color. Fruit often persist throughout winter.
A favorite for many birds and wildlife.

Cultivars and their differences

This plant is a cultivar of a species that is native to the Chicago Region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region, with updates made according to current research. Cultivars are plants produced in cultivation by selective breeding or via vegetative propagation from wild plants identified to have desirable traits.”

Blue Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Glauca’): Narrow, upright, columnar evergreen tree, 20 to 25 feet high and 8 to 10 feet wide. Silver-blue spring foliage turns blue-green in summer. Use as a specimen, in groups, or as an informal hedge.

Blue Mountain Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Blue Mountain’): Spreading evergreen shrub, 3 to 4 feet high and 5 to 8 feet wide. Blue-green foliage is softer and more needlelike than that of most junipers. Plants of this female cultivar produce berry-shaped cones that, if pollinated, ripen to a bluish color. Use as a foundation plant, in shrub borders, or on slopes.

Burk Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Burkii’): Pyramidal cultivar, 20 to 25 feet high; Good blue color with purple tones in winter; male (no fruit).

Canaert Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Canaertii’): Pyramidal tree, 20 to 35 feet high and 15 to 20 feet wide. Dark green foliage tufted at ends of branches; open crown, attractive bluish-white clusters of fruit; reddish-brown bark exfoliating into long strips. Use as a specimen, in groups, or for informal screening.

Hillspire Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Cupressifolia’): Pyramidal form; grows to 15 feet tall; foliage more cypress-like; female form.

Grey Owl Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Grey Owl’): A low growing, spreading shrub reaching 3 to 4 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide. Silver-grey foliage attractive all year. A female form that develops attractive blue berries.

Taylor Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana ‘Taylor’): Narrow, columnar form; grows 15 to 2o feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide; silvery, blue-green foliage.

Eastern Red Cedar

Juniperus virginiana

  • Other common names include Red Cedar, Virginian Juniper, Eastern Juniper, Red Juniper, Pencil Cedar, Aromatic Cedar
  • Can grow to be a medium to large coniferous evergreen tree
  • An aromatic tree (once used to flavor gin)
  • Versatile tree used as a windbreak, hedges, screens, and as a specimen
  • Slow growth rate

Eastern Red Cedar is valued for its thick deep green foliage that makes them an ideal choice for use as a privacy screen and shelter for small wildlife. Bird lovers will want to have their camera and binoculars out, because, in the winter, small blue berries appear, attracting birds in droves. A North American native, its botanical name is Juniperus virginiana, and this medium to large coniferous evergreen can grow almost anywhere, so we like to use them as windbreaks or line them up in rows to block unwanted views. We also like to use Red Cedar Juniper to create a private backyard retreat or to reduce the noise of a busy street!

This Eastern Red Cedar tree has a beautiful pyramidal form and loves to grow in an open space with plenty of full sun exposure. They can tolerate the heat, wind, and salt, and their ability to withstand a variety of extreme weather conditions make them an ideal tree for our area. Once established, this Juniperus tree will require little to moderate water use.

These trees have a slow growth rate, so if you want a bigger tree that can give your landscape a natural maturity, buy as big as you can. Moon Valley Nurseries has Eastern Red Cedar for sale, grown and nurtured on our farms for over 20 years! We have specimen trees available as well as young starter trees too! We are the growers so that we can assure their quality, so visit us today, and we will help you handpick the perfect tree for the perfect spot in your yard!

Environmental Studies

Juniperus virginiana, or more commonly known as the Red Cedar, is known for being strong for its size, and for its beauty. The Red Cedar is native in many states in northern and eastern America. It can be found is along woodland and wetland areas right on Lake Michigan.

Physical characteristics

Leaf: The leaf of Juniperus virginiana is a long skiny leaf that is needle-like. It is qualified as having Evergreen leaves. What this means is there are usually two types, a green leaf that about 1/14 of an inch and a much larger blue thistle that is about 3x the size of the green leaf in length. The leaf, at the tip, is rounded a somewhat spongy to the touch. Leaves come out in a whorl and are sub-opposite.

Flower | Seeds: The majority of these plants are dioecious, which means that each plant is either a male or female. Male flowers are small yellow spers of pollen. The female flowers are typically small and light blue. The berry and seeds are edible and turn a solid blue and rarely exceed 8cm long. The Red Cedar flowers in early spring and matures into a berry by late fall.

Trunk | Bark: The Bark is a deep red-brown. This tree has a tendency to “shed” its outerbark, and the color underneath is more of a dull grey. The bark is very sturdy and has been crafted into small shelters and also small furniture.

Life span: Depending if it is in its natural habitat, the Red Cedar can live between 100 years to about 300 years.

Ecological characteristics

The Red Cedar is found by bodies of water and is very prevalent around the Great Lakes. These trees will be found on the shore of the the body of water. They can live in many different types of enriched soil which include some clay soils and some sandy soils, however, it thrives in wetlands.

Here is a key that shows where Juniperus virginiana can be found. The green area is where the Red Cedar is native and the red area is where it is not native.

Importance to the ecosystem

The Red Cedar has many important uses within its ecosystem. One of the most important is that it provides a safe home for many different birds. It also provides shelter for land dwelling aminals when it rains becasue of the coverage the foliage creates. This tree also provides food for birds and deer with the berries it produces, though humans like the taste of the berries as well. Due to the root system, this is one of the best plants to protect soil from erosion. The significance of this is it allows smaller and younger plants to grow in enriched, protected soil.

Relationship with other species

Non-human: This tree provides food and shelter to numerous birds and animals and in return seed dispertion and fertilization occurs. Also enriched soil is preserved for smaller plants to grow.

Humans: Many fragrances are created from the bark, and it’s an attractive wood that small funiture is made out of. Also, the tree provides berries to eat, though many people don’t know they are edible. Many people use these trees as holiday trees and decoration for their yards, though yard decoration is not as popular as it once was.

Pests: Many insects love to eat different parts of the Red Cedar which include roots, bark, and the leaves. Many mites, worms, and beetles will eat these different parts of the tree, but rarely damage the tree enough for it to be lethal. However these insects have killed parts of the Red Cedar such as new growth. Fire is beneficial to the tree and fungus is a pest that can ruin roots and the bark of the tree.

Other interesting facts

  • The berry from the Red Cedar provides gin with its unique flavor and has been used for many years.
  • Red Cedar is a native plant to the Chicago region.
  • The Red Cedar is one of the first to re-populate itself after its habitat has been burned.
  • The bark of the Red Cedar is used to make many different fragrances, such as essential oils.

Web sites-

Virginia Tech http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=97





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