Eastern Red Cedar

Eastern redcedar needles


A common cypress tree in the northeastern United States, the eastern red cedar has a slender yet stout spire-like appearance and is usually one of the first trees to establish after clear-cutting and for mine reforestation, which is a testament to its durable and hardy qualities.

This tree is eligible for a $50 Tree Rebate.

More detail: Eastern Red Cedar’s Tree of the Month.

Common Name
Eastern redcedar

Latin Name
Juniperus virginiana 

The eastern red cedar has two types of leaves: scale-like dark green leaves and longer, dark blue-green needle-like leaves that are more common on young trees and fast-growing shoots

Primarily dioecious*; male flowers are small, yellow-brown and occur in large groups; female flowers are light blue-green

Berry-like cones, light green in spring, turning dark blue at maturity

Green for several years, covered in scales, later turning brown

Red-brown in color, exfoliating in long, fibrous strips, often ashy gray where exposed

A small tree with a dense ovoid or columnar crown

Sizes range from 16 to 66 feet tall

Native Range
Eastern North America: from Maine west to southern Ontario and South Dakota, south to northernmost Florida and southwest into east-central Texas

Medium-sized evergreen tree

Seasonal Colors
Stays green throughout the year

Moist, deep loam and/or sand; will tolerate alkaline and saline conditions

Prefers full sun; tolerates shade only in youth

Similar Species
Atlantic whitecedar, common juniper, Chinese juniper, redberry juniper

Pests and Diseases
Few pests, but the eastern red cedar is vulnerable to cedar-apple rust and should not be planted near apple trees

Rebate Eligibility

Of Note
The aromatic wood is avoided by moths, so it is in demand as lining for clothes chests and closets, which are often referred to as cedar closets and cedar chests.

Juniper oil is distilled from the wood, twigs and leaves. The cones are used to flavor gin and as a kidney medicine.

Photo Credits

Mary Tricia
sandy richard