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Eastern Red Cedar - Juniperus virginiana
Eastern red cedar is considered the traditional Southern Christmas Tree by many people who can still remember going out in the woods for one as a child. It makes an attractive Christmas tree with probably the most pleasing aroma of any tree. Its not a true cedar but is a member of the juniper family. It is closely related to Juniperus scopulorum, the Rocky Mountain juniper. The color can vary from dark green to bluish silver during the summer months. After the first frost this tree can turn bronze, red or even purple, hence the name Red Cedar. To keep the dark green color for Christmas, we apply a tent before the first frost. This will help the tree maintain its summer color and reduce the tendency for the cut tree to dry out. If the tree is not cut, the tent will wash off by spring and will not hinder normal growth. Although they are slow growing, heights of over 40 feet have been recorded. In the forest red cedar will adjust to shade conditions by remaining dormant until the dominant trees loose their leaves. Then they conduct photosynthesis while their taller neighbors are dormant.