Juniperus virginiana, redcedar, common juniper of the Eastern U.S.
When 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:
- The trunk is more than 2 tree-hugs in circumference, but less than 2-1/2 tree-hugs.
- 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.
- 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.
A few champion Eastern redcedar trees
Eastern redcedar: Pioneer species
Eastern redcedar: A tree that birds love