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Kansas Forest Service

Kansas Forest Service
2610 Claflin Road
Manhattan, KS 66502

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Eastern Redcedar

eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana, or Eastern redcedar, is a juniper rather than a true cedar. As Kansas' only native evergreen tree, it grows throughout the state.

Mature Size
redcedar grows to a height of about 30 to 35 feet and the branches may spread 12 to 15 feet.

Growth Rate 
It grows from 1 to 1 1/2 feet per year.

Leaves, Stems and Fruit
Eastern redcedar's leaves are small and scale-like, dark green in summer changing to reddish-brown in fall. Male and female flowers are inconspicuous and develop on separate trees in April. Blue, berry-like fruit ripens in September. The one-quarter inch fruit is borne, only on female plants and persists through the winter. The fruit (photo) is a favorite of numerous birds and other animals which accounts for its spread to areas where it is not wanted.

Windbreaks - Because of the dense, compact, long-lived foliage and low branches, Eastern redcedar makes excellent windbreaks and living snow fences. It serves well as the evergreen component of a multiple row windbreak and, because of its density, is effective as a single row windbreak.
Wildlife Habitat - Many species of birds and other animals feed on Eastern redcedar fruit. The dense foliage provides year around cover for many species of wildlife. Persisting fruit and dense foliage are especially valuable as emergency food and cover during severe winter storms.
Products - Because of the durability of the heartwood, Eastern redcedar makes excellent posts. The dark red heartwood and white sapwood is very desirable for novelty items and chests.

Adaptation and Soil
Eastern redcedar is recommended for planting throughout the state and grows best in well-drained soils that are at least 24 inches deep. It may survive in very shallow, tight dry soils, but growth is slow. It is moderately tolerant of alkaline soils.

Redcedars are spaced 6 to 10 feet apart.

Two-year-old, bareroot and container grown seedlings are generally used in plantings. Both bareroot and container grown seedlings are 8 to 12 inches tall. Unlike the pines, Eastern redcedar will grow 12 to 18 inches the first year with adequate water and freedom of competing vegetation. They will tolerate droughty and weedy conditions better than pines. 

Eastern redcedar is an alternate host for cedar-apple rust, a serious disease of apples, but does little damage to the tree. Other common diseases include Kabatina and Cercospera blight. Bagworms, borers and spider mites are common pests.

Soil Information
Average Height in 20 Yrs: 
-Eastern14-18 ft.
-Central12-15 ft.
-Western10-12 ft.
Growth Rate:Medium
Native Species:Native to Kansas
Windbreak Value:High
Wildlife Value:High
Lumber Products:Yes
Fuelwood Products:No
Drought Tolerance:High
Soil Saturation:No Tolerance
Salinity Tolerance:No Tolerance
pH Range:4.7-8