Cedar: Plant This or That


IMG_5296

Blue atlas cedars (Cedrus atlantica) native to north Africa are common in our area.  They can grow to be huge specimens, like the one to the right at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.  The Chesapeake Bay region has its own magnificent native cedar tree — the Eastern red cedar.


IMG_4749

Eastern red cedar (Juniper virginiana), below, has a narrower shape but also can grow to 40′ to 65′ in height.  This tree has it all – gorgeous texture with elegant draping year round, beautiful bark on mature trees, tons of blue berries on females, and that aromatic cedar fragrance.  The Eastern red cedar is well adapted to clay soils and other local conditions and very easy to grow as long as it isn’t sitting in moisture.

The male and female trees shown above on the left were planted long ago as a screen in our small 1/8 acre garden. They provide great bird habitat in the winter and oodles of berries shown below.

IMG_4262

According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Eastern red cedar has the best drought tolerance of any native conifer. They grow well in sun and partial shade.  There are also a number of smaller cultivars including shrubs.


IMG_2995

Eastern red cedars should not be planted near apple orchards as they can host cedar apple rust.  Other than that, it’s hard to go wrong with an Eastern red cedar!

IMG_5739

For more information:


Click here for more information from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.


For a list of commonly available smaller cultivars, scroll to the bottom of this fact sheet from the Morton Arboretum.


#attractsbirds

We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Pachysandra-procumbens.jpg