Thursday, November 17, 2011

Juniperus virginiana

Cedar trees.

Red cedar trees.

They pop up in uncultivated fields and along our roadsides.

They're evergreen and I love that.    We're surrounded by hardwood forests and they change a lot through the year.   The cedars give us some continuity.

They don't drop their leaves, they just get bigger.

One of the big questions we had was whether we have the eastern red cedar, or the southern red cedar.

Ours are upright and columnar. 

Except when they've been hacked by the county bush hog, which chops off everything at just above fence height.   Those cedars start to sprawl - but if left alone, they would have been upright and columnar.

Upright and columnar indicates that we have the eastern variety - Juniperus virginiana.

The southern variety is sprawling and irregular.   There is some debate whether it is another species entirely or a subspecies of Juniperus virginiana  [sp. silicicola].

Our cedars have beautiful blue berries.   The birds eat them and spread the seeds around. 

Sound familiar?   That's how we got so many elaeagnus trees, too.

The county bush hog just mangled some and we found the cuttings on the road.   I'm thinking they'll make pretty wreathes.  

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