Publication Details

Skeleton decay in red cedar

Publication Toolbox

  • Download PDF (247107)
  • This publication is available only online.

Year Published



Arborist News. 22 (3): 32-34.


Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana) is a common tree species throughout the eastern United States and the Great Plains. Although “cedar” is in the common name, the scientifc name shows a botanical kinship to the juniper species of the American southwest. Red cedar can survive and thrive within a broad range of soil conditions, seasonal temperature swings, and soil moisture. The oldest red cedar trees are found on rocky escarpments and the edges of cliffs. These are not necessarily big trees, but can reach 900 years of age or more in areas not easily reached by lumbermen or wildfire. On more fertile ground, red cedar can grow to be large majestic trees and are most readily found as colonizers of former fields and pastures. Although not traditionally planted as a street or yard tree, red cedar is increasingly part of the community and neighborhood forest as the urban interface extends into former agricultural areas.


Smith, Kevin T.; Glaeser, Jessie A. 2013. Skeleton decay in red cedar. Arborist News. 22 (3): 32-34.

Last updated on: June 20, 2013