Sunday, January 15, 2012

Red Cedar Trees

Notes From my Tree Journal

My favorite trees at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge were the big ancient Cedars. I got several good shots of them and intend to do some paintings soon. I found the information on Red Cedars on the Internet. HERE


Juniperus silicicola: Southern Redcedar1

Edward F. Gilman and Dennis G. Watson2


This densely-foliated, wide pyramidal, columnar or oval evergreen grows fairly quickly, ultimately reaching heights up to 40 feet with a 25-foot spread. Some individual plants grow wider than tall as they grow older. Some botanists do not make a distinction between Juniperus silicicola and Juniperus virginiana . Its fine-textured, medium green leaves and drooping branchlets help to soften the rather symmetrical, oval juvenile form. Mature specimens of Southern Redcedar take on a flat-topped, almost windswept appearance, making them very picturesque. Bark and trunk on older specimens take on a delightful, `old-tree' look.

Use and Management

The dense growth and attractive foliage make Southern Redcedar a favorite for windbreaks, screens, and wildlife-cover for large-scale landscapes. Its high salt-tolerance makes it ideal for seaside locations. Redcedar can make a nice Christmas tree, and the fragrant wood is popular for repelling insects. Cedar Key, Florida, once had extensive redcedar forests before the lumber was extensively harvested and the wood used for chests and pencils. Although not currently used often as a street tree, its wood is strong, the foliage is clean, and the fruit is small making it a suitable candidate. There are some nice examples of street tree use in southern cities. With proper pruning to remove lower branches, it should adapt well to street-scapes.
Planted in full sun or partial shade, Southern Redcedar will easily grow on a variety of soils, including clay. Growth may be poor in landscapes which are over-irrigated. Plants are difficult to transplant due to a coarse root system, except when quite small. Water until well-established and then forget about the tree. It performs admirably with no care, even on alkaline soil and along the coast. Usually insects and diseases are not a problem if grown in the full sun. There may be local restrictions on planting this tree near apple orchards because it is the alternate host for cedar-apple rust.
Propagation is by seed, which germinate faster if planted as soon as the cones mature or if given a stratification period. Also, tip cuttings can be rooted.
No cultivars are listed but there is ample opportunity to propagate and culture from the wide diversity of shapes and growth habits exhibited by this tree.


  1. Cedars are also one of my favorite trees. I remember sketching them on my notepad when I was in grade school. I like how serene and calm they appear. I can't wait to see your painting, Linda.

  2. Thanfk you Darius. I'm looking forward to tackling the Red Cedars in paint and canvas.