Why You Should Plant Eastern Red Cedar Trees in Your Yard

Updated: Jan. 28, 2021

Looking for a new tree to add to your yard? Grow a majestic Eastern red cedar tree to provide food and shelter for birds.

Despite a confusing name, the Eastern red cedar tree is actually a member of the juniper group. This gorgeous tree has the ability to grow 65 feet tall, although most reach around 30 feet. This big conifer has plenty to offer looks-wise, but its bird benefits are just as good.

Here are the best types of conifer trees and how to grow them.

Wildlife Benefits of Eastern Red Cedar

The trees produce blue-gray fruits that cedar waxwings and other backyard birds love. The fruits may look like berries but they’re actually cones. Birds also use the trees for their cover, hiding the in gray-green to dark green needles. As for other wildlife—they may be attracted to the shelter of the tree but, luckily, it’s also deer resistant.

Where and How to Grow Eastern Red Cedar

These conifers do best in Zones 3 to 9. Psst—learn how plant zones work and how to find yours. They need full sun, although they tolerate a little shade when young. Watering often may be less of a concern than with other evergreens. Eastern red cedars are drought tolerant once they’re established.

Choose Native Varieties

Eastern red cedars are native to parts of the United States, but they’re invasive in others. Do not plant these trees near grasslands in the central and western regions of the United States. Choose a juniper that’s native to your area and does not pose a threat for nearby environments. If you’re not sure, reach out to your local extension office.

Try the cultivar Canaertii. It looks beautiful in winter and offers a substantial amount of fruit for backyard wildlife.

Learn more about planting a native bird garden.