red cedar, a very valuable tree, is found in all classes and conditions
of soils -- from acidic wetlands to dry, rocky nidges. It seems
to thrive on barren soils where few other trees are found. Eastern
red cedar is scattered throughout the state, except in the highmountains.
It is most commonly found in the Piedmont.
The mature leaves average 1/16 inches in length and are opposite.
They are smooth, shiny, dark green and glandular. On young foliage,
leaves are somewhat needle-like: linear; pointed; and prickly.
They occur in whorls of three. The fleshy fruit is round, 1/4
to 1/3 inch in diameter and, at maturity, a bluish color with
a grayish-white, waxy covering.
The tree commonly is 40 to 50 feet tall with a trunk diameter
of 1 to 2 feet, but it may grow much larger. The short, slender
branches form a compact, pyramidal crown, except on very old trees.
The bark is light reddish-brown. It is thin and separates into
long, peeling, fibrous strips. The heartwood of the Eastern red
cedar is distinctly red, and the sapwood is white. This color
combination creates striking effects when the wood is finished
as cedar chests, closets and interior woodwork. Red cedar wood
is aromatic, soft, strong and evenly textured; these qualities
make it the best material for pencils. The heartwood is very resistant
to decay. It is in great demand for use in fence posts, poles
and rustic furniture. Because red cedar repels insects, it is
used for cedar chests, closet linings and petbedding.
Red cedar can cause havoc in apple orchards. The "cedar apples"
often found on the twigs of the red cedar are caused by a rust
fungus (Gymnosporangium. juniperi - virginianae) that has an alternate
host in apple trees. The fungus causes dark leaf spots on apple