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Eastern Red Cedar/Old Field Juniper (Juniperus virginiana)

Eastern Red Cedar Trees Old Field Cedar Barrens Eastern Red Cedar (also known as Old Field Juniper) is a small to medium sized coniferous tree with scale-like or awl-like leaves and bluish, berry-like fruits. It is widespread throughout the eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada. It invades open areas that have been disturbed by fire or cleared for agriculture. Individual trees may persist in older forests for many years. As you walk the trails at the Arboretum, you may see older Eastern Red Cedar trees that indicate clearing for past land use or smaller trees that have developed in forest openings.

Several different cultivars of Juniperus virginiana can be found in the Juniper Collection near the Program Shelter. The “Cedar barrens” behind Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge is an example of an area currently dominated by Eastern Red Cedar.

Jefferson High School Area Cedar Barrens Juniper Fruit In late winter, Eastern Red Cedar produces a copious amount of pollen that is a potent allergen. The female cones develop into bluish “berries” with a waxy coating. The fruits provide an important winter food source for birds which disperse the seeds widely. The aromatic wood repels insects and is used for lining cedar chests and as fence posts. The tree also is planted for windbreaks and is used for making pencils and for Christmas Trees in the South. The Forest Resources Center crews utilize these trees for fence posts, bird houses, and kindling in the operations of the Center. Eastern Red Cedar is an alternate host for cedar-apple rust and should not be planted near fruit trees. Berries from a related species, Juniperus communis (Common Juniper), are used to flavor gin.

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University of Tennessee - Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center
901 South Illinois Avenue, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37830 · Telephone: 865-483-3571 · Email: UTforest@utk.edu