Eastern Red Cedar in reedgrass field

Nitesteamer(z4WI)October 30, 2007

There is a 1 acre grass field next to my woods. It is wet for a month or two in the spring, and the soil has a lot of clay in it. I want to do a sporadic planting of evergreens for deer bedding and winter wildlife shelter. Would it make sense to plant eastern red cedar?

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They certainly perform well here in the south, almost too well. The only problem you may have with them is if you have apples or hawthorns nearby, the cedars (junipers) may increase the risk of rust in the area.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2007 at 11:07PM
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ladyslppr(z6 PA)

Red Cedar is pretty adaptable, so it should do well in your field, I think. Deer will eat Red Cedar, and sometimes around here (PA) you'll see Red Cedars that are heavily damaged from deer.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 8:31AM
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eric_in_tn(6b TN)

They are excellent as windbreaks & shelter, and have limited food value for wildlife. You may not need to plant any though as they are one of the first trees to spring up in abandoned fields. If there are any others nearby some will certain start growing in the field with no outside help. Birds eat the berries and excrete the seeds.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 10:23AM
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Thank you all for the input. A little bit a of background probably won't hurt. My property is mostly deciduous woods, with 3 small fields, and a small wetland. There are 4 or 5 isolated cedars that I know of.
There are also many (what I believe to be) Hawthorns scattered around. I understand the wildlife value of the hawthorns.
My purpose is to enhance the wildlife habitat of my property. I was almost set on planting red cedar, but now have doubts.

  1. How big of a problem is cedar rust to hawthorns?
  2. Is there an alternative evergreen that is dense, not huge, and will do well in a seasonally wet clay soil area?
  3. Is it likely that the existing cedars are a threat to the hawthorns?
    Bookmark   October 31, 2007 at 7:22PM
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rbrady(5/Eastern Ia)

Have you thought about Northern White Cedar? You might also want to think about Balsam Fir or White Spruce. I think all would be good candidates along with the Red Cedars. A larger variety would be better for the wildlife.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2007 at 9:52PM
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Good idea.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2007 at 9:32PM
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Nitesteamer, it really depends on if the fungus is present in your area. Google images of "cedar apple rust" and you will see what the fruiting structures look like on red cedar. Keep an eye out for them come spring time. If you see them, it would be best to limit your amount of red cedar.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 1:32PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I wouldn't plant cedar if I were trying to increase the wildlife value of the property.

If your property is mostly deciduous woods, then I would focus on maintaining the field as grassland, rather than trying to plant it in trees. A combination habitat of grassland and woods is great for wildlife habitat.

Sometimes we overlook the value of grasslands when thinking about habitat.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2007 at 12:59PM
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