Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma Invasive Species
Oklahoma State University

Eastern Redcedar
Juniperus virginiana

eastern redcedar
Country of Origin: The Eastern Redcedar is a medium size evergreen that has a very wide distribution range. It is a native plant to the Eastern United States; however it has become an invasive species in the Midwest states like Oklahoma, Kansas.
History: The Eastern Redcedar is a one of the 13 native species of juniper tress present in the United States, and it is present in every state in the north east part of the United States. It is however a growing problem in the mid-west because of the suppression of fire, which has historically kept the Eastern Redcedar from invading the prairies
Intended Use: Ornamental, Wind Breaks, Habitat for wildlife
Mode of Invasion:

Is has been spread by being used as wind breaks, and wildlife habitats. It can also be spread by birds that eat the seeds, which if digested will germinate easily.

Species Description:

The Eastern Redcedar is a slow growing species of tree that can tolerate a wide variety of soils, and habitats. It was historically confined to areas where fire did not occur, however suppression of fire has allowed the Eastern Redcedar to become the dominant invader in Oklahoma habitats. Because of the lack of fire present the Eastern Redcedar can be observed in all stages of plant succession. These trees are shade tolerant, and pollination will take place April-May. It is a small to a medium size tree that grows in a pyramidal shape and it is strongly aromatic. It is an evergreen, has pollen cones that mature in 1 season, has 2-3 seeds, and it is dioecious.

Map of Occurrence:

european starling map

Effects of Invasion:
  • Reduces forage production and livestock handling
  • Can alter micro-climate and switch from warm season grasses to cool season grasses
  • Loss of native plants
  • Loss of native prairie birds
  • Loss of native prairie
  • In 2001 the loss of wildlife habitat and cattle forage was estimated at 218 million. (Cedar Saw)

The control options that are actively being used to combat the spread of Eastern Redcedar in Oklahoma are the cutting of individual trees, and by bringing back burning which historically had kept the Eastern Redcedar from spreading into Oklahoma.


Williams, Larry. Cedar Saw. Eastern Red Cedar Friend or Foe: http://www.cedarsaw.com/Cedar_Info.htm


Knezevic, Steven. Crop Watch: Integrated Management of Eastern Red Cedar in Nebraska.2007. http://cropwatch.unl.edu


Bidwell, Terrance E, Masters Ronald E. and Tyrl, Ronald J. Field Guide to Oklahoma Plants.


Plant Profile: Eastern Red Cedar.USDA. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=JUVI