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Plant A Grove: Eastern red-cedar (Juniperus virginiana)

By: Sandra Nelson; Images Sandy DeFoe



A highly desirable native evergreen. Eastern red-cedar is a mainstay for the winter landscape. Tolerant to drought and hot, dry winds, Eastern red-cedar loves the full sun and thrives in a variety of soil types, including shallow, rocky soils. Since they stand up well to both salt spray and ground salt, they are excellent for street plantings. For most of the year, the prickly, dark green needles have a silvery cast underneath, but sometimes they do turn brownish-green in winter. Newer varieties tend to hold their color better. Female trees produce blue-green berry-like fruit, which are actually cones,  that attracts birds and other wildlife. Eastern red-cedar trees often reach 60 feet in height, but due to selective breeding, some cultivars form spreading, evergreen shrubs instead.