Ole' Christmas Tree, Ole' Christmas Tree
I can remember when I was a kid and it came to be time to cut a Christmas tree for Grandma’s house there were very few pines or firs of the right size and shape, so we would go out into the fields and the tree we always came back with was an eastern red cedar of just the right height and symmetry to look good across the room from the old wood stove. The eastern red cedar was valued by people of the area not only as a decoration, but also as fence posts and beams to support the floors and roofs of sheds and barns. The fragrant needles were sometimes brought in and just placed around as a sort of natural air freshener, and the chickens use the biggest cedar on the property as a place to sleep, which of course meant that underneath the cedar was the best place to get worms for fishing. Moss also looks great underneath a tree.
Back in those days we never knew that the eastern red cedar is actually not a cedar at all, but is a species of juniper. The plant is a native of eastern North America that is a very dense and slow growing tree that may reach heights of 15-70 feet in optimum soil conditions. The eastern red cedar, though slow growing makes an excellent wind break when planted along the edges of fields or along property lines, and the dense foliage a makes it the perfect place for numerous species of birds to nest with excellent protection from weather and predators. The birds also feast on the tiny berries produced by this member of the juniper family.
The eastern red cedar is an excellent plant to be placed by the discerning gardener or landscaper, as it is nearly unsurpassed as a windbreak of hedgerow tree. As a native species the planter will be able to enjoy their tree for year after year without ever having a worry of its seeds being scattered and it becoming an invasive species. The eastern red cedar truly is a tree for all purposes and seasons.Trumpet vines are great to use for wreaths also.