(a.k.a Eastern Redcedar)
The Eastern Red Cedar is a very dense, columnar ornamental that is excellent as a windbreak or privacy screen. It is actually not a true Cedar, but rather a Juniper…somewhere in the past, the name just stuck.
Eastern Red Cedar grow at a fairly average speed for an evergreen, but reach heights of 40 feet, resulting in dense and rot resistant wood which is is famously used in cedar chests, cedar closets and outdoor applications such as fencing. It’s root system is very dense, making it a perfect tree for erosion control. Eastern Red Cedar is excellent for developing wildlife habitat on your property, offering birds cover for nesting, and berries as a food source during stressful winters.
This evergreen grows as far south as Texas and Florida, and as far west as Oklahoma, Nebraska and Kansas, but requires light, well-draining soil, and does not need a lot of watering. Rich soils and lots of water can result in root rot, which will kill the tree. This is actually an advantage for people who have poor soil, or who just want to plant and [almost] forget. Watering would only be necessary in the first year after planting, when the roots can’t reach far enough down for deeper moisture.
Interestingly, Eastern Red Cedar are a mixture of male and female, with the females producing minuscule flowers and blue berries, and the males producing what look like pine cones [but are actually pollen-producing structures]. It is impossible to determine male vs. female until they reach maturity and produce the telltale signs. Although the females must be pollinated to produce the seed-bearing fruit, there are enough cedars throughout the US that even an isolated female should bear fruit, since pollen can remain airborne for many many miles.
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.