Sunday, March 13, 2016

Managing Eastern Red Cedar on the Homestead

Eastern Red Cedars
Today was an absolutely gorgeous day. This morning was drizzly and thunder filled, but that all cleared up by noon. We spent a good part of the afternoon outside doing some forest management. We focused on irradiating small Eastern Red Cedars that have sprung up all over. We walked around looking for any baby trees (those under 5' tall) and cut them down. We ran out of steam at around 30 and will do some more next weekend, and every weekend after that until all 4 acres are free of the preditorial beasts. If you do not control Cedars they will grow tall and broad, blocking out sapplings and other new growth by preventing sunlight from reaching the ground. My forest is mostly Oak, and I want to make sure to manage my forest so it not only looks nice, but all the trees remain healthy as well. 

Unmanaged Forest
Eastern Red Cedar has always been present in Oklahoma, but were kept in check by natural wildfires. Back in the day before European settlement, wildfires would take care of the issue, however changes in use of the lands has led to these trees reproducing at a rapid pace.

Baby Eastern Red Cedar around 2 feet tall
Red Cedars are prolific seeders. Birds eat the seeds and spread them via their waste. Anywhere birds roost, Red Cedars are common. The birds digestive systems prime the seed and the seeds germinate with ease once they hit the ground. If not removed when small, the trees continue to grow and become more difficult to remove

Cut down at the root
For those with large tracts of lands, prescribed burns can be an effective way to manage the growth of these trees. However, on my land that is not an option. So I choose the next best option. I go around with a pair of loppers and cut the baby trees off at the dirt. That's right, I commit tree massacre.

Juvenile Eastern Red Cedar
There is still much work to be done to bring this forest to where it needs to be, but we are making progress. After we get rid of the baby trees we will be taking a chainsaw to the larger, fully grown trees. We will however be leaving the Cedars along the front of the property. They look nice, don't interfere with any other plants, and provide us with privacy. Not all Eastern Red Cedars are bad, but careful control must be taken to prevent them from taking over. 

For more information on controlling Eastern Red Cedars on your property, the Oklahoma Forestry Service produced this helpful pamphlet.

Thanks for stopping by the homestead!


  1. Anything with the name cedar is a killer on your property!!! If, you have some long strait trees cut them at the base and cut off all the branches and you have fence posts that will last FOREVER!!!!! IF THE TREE IS PRETTY LARGE ITS VALUABLE , JUST REMEMBER THAT!!