Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Large Eastern red cedar tree at Fort Donelson, TN

Juniperus virginiana, redcedar, common juniper of the Eastern U.S.


Large red cedar at Fort Donelson National Cemetery, Dover, TNWhen we visited Fort Donelson at Dover, TN, last weekend, we saw several interesting specimens of Eastern red cedar (juniperus virginiana or "redcedar").

The very large redcedar tree above grows in Fort Donelson National Cemetery. It has the largest trunk of any red cedar I've ever seen. I didn't have a measuring tape with me to measure the trunk precisely, but it is over 10 feet in circumference.

Here is how I reached my statement of the circumference of the tree:

  1. The trunk is more than 2 tree-hugs in circumference, but less than 2-1/2 tree-hugs.
  2. When I stretch my arms out sideways, it is a little over five feet from the fingertips of one hand to the fingertips of the other hand. Thus 2 tree hugs equals at least 10 feet.
  3. I didn't hug the trunk at its largest point.

An Eastern redcedar specimen this large must be several hundred years old. Red cedars often live 300 years -- or sometimes longer if conditions are optimal. This red cedar tree has been helped by its circumstances: it has not competed with other trees for sunshine, growing space, nutrients, or water for the last 140 years. During times of drought, it has probably been watered, and it's also possible that, along with the lawn, it's had some fertilizer over the years.

Related posts:
A few champion Eastern redcedar trees
Eastern redcedar: Pioneer species
Eastern redcedar: A tree that birds love

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

Photos and text copyright © 2006-2010 by Genevieve L. Netz. All rights reserved. Do not republish without written permission. My e-mail address is gnetz51@gmail.com