Proper landscaping can reduce erosion and therefore the amount of sediment and other pollutants entering our streams. Many plants will reduce erosion, but the plant species you choose can determine whether or not the local ecosystem is supported as well.  In a nutshell, native plants provide appropriate food sources for wildlife; non-natives do not.  May we recommend…

 EASTERN RED CEDAR, Juniperus virginiana

Many people think of eastern red cedar as a tree of old fields or a trash tree; you may have even removed one that appeared in your yard.   If you do find this plant on your property, please consider keeping it.   This drought tolerant, slow growing  tree does best in full sun;  you can expect a tree to be about 25 feet tall in 20 years. When healthy, this juniper can live to be quite old and, during that time,  will stabilize the soil with a  shallow, spreading root system,  provide benefits to many of our urban critters  and provide us with beautiful greenery during the holidays.

Tree canopy is a critical factor for watershed health and you can do your part to improve water quality just by planting trees.  Late fall or early winter is the perfect time to do this.   When choosing a tree,  be sure to consider the size of the tree when mature – it will need to fit the space you have in mind.

If you decide to let eastern red cedar grow on your property, consider having two trees – you will double your chances of having a female plant with berries.   However, if  this is not the tree for you, there are many others to choose from.  Visit the Native Plant Center where you can narrow your plant search by plant type, site conditions, etc.  All plants on this site are native species and recommended for the Chesapeake Bay region.   These are plants with a purpose!

Please note that it’s best not to plant Eastern red cedar near apple trees and some other members of the Rosaceae family.

All photos from Flicker Creative Commons
Photo credits:   hairstreak butterfly – motleypixel
                                junper berries – dmott9
                               cedar waxwing – chefranden





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