The Brodie Eastern Red Cedar is a tough, tough plant, that thrives in places where other evergreens fail. It grows into a narrow, upright tree, reaching 15 feet in 10 years, and eventually 25 feet or more. It stays slender, just a few feet wide, making it ideal for screening and trimming into hedges. This native tree is a top choice for natural planting, at the edge of forest, or along the shore, and it is also beautiful enough to be grown in the most formal garden. Especially resistant to salt spray, heat and drought, it is highly recommended for beach areas, or for planting in rocky or sandy soils.
- Slender upright evergreen tree
- Attractive feathery foliage in rich green
- Ideal for screens or specimens
- Thrives in hot, dry difficult locations
- Particularly suitable for coastal areas
Best in full sun, the Brodie Eastern Red Cedar also grows in areas with a little shade for part of the day. It will grow in any well-drained soil, from beach sand to heavy clay, and once established it is very tolerant of both drought and heat. Although cold tolerant, we recommend this plant for hotter zones, where drought resistant is especially important. It is rarely bothered by pests or diseases, and deer almost never eat it. It tolerates salt spray well, from oceans or roads, and even survives brief periods of flooding with saltwater.
Tough, reliable plants are the key to having a great garden with minimum work. When you find a beautiful upright accent plant, in rich green, or a durable screening or hedge plant, that takes almost no work, and thrives in tough, dry conditions, then you have a winner. So you will understand that we were excited to find some great young plants of a tree that certainly fits that description – the Brodie Eastern Red Cedar. A native plant too, it is ideal for a natural garden, or for enriching existing natural areas, on banks or in rocky places. Very resistant to salt, it is also perfect for coastal areas, and it is extremely drought tolerant.
The Brodie Eastern Red Cedar is a slender, upright evergreen tree that will be 12 to 15 feet tall in 10 years, and ultimately reach 25 feet or more in height. It remains densely upright, spreading to perhaps 5 feet wide, and eventually reaching no more than 8 feet at its widest point. Broad enough to work perfectly for hedges and screens, yet narrow enough to give those powerful vertical accents we all love, this tree a real winner. It has a single main trunk, only visible at the ground until the tree is quite old, and the reddish-brown bark peels and sheds in long strips on mature trees.
The foliage is a rich green, with a fine texture, and in winter it takes on attractive gray-green to bronzy tones depending on how much cold it is exposed too. The leaves are tiny scales that cover the younger stems tightly, so they appear green. With their feathery growth, those stems give this tree a fine texture, and they also clip well, creating a dense surface for a specimen plant or a hedge. Junipers have separate male and female trees, and this variety is a female, so it can have a crop of blue-black berries, which birds love. Normally it rarely makes berries until it is older. These are not the juniper berries used in cooking and drinks, and they are not edible.
Growing Brodie Eastern Red Cedar Tree
Handsome enough to be grown anywhere, in any garden, the Brodie Eastern Red Cedar is the perfect plant for tough locations. It thrives in poor soil, in pockets among rocks, on rough ground, and of course in ordinary garden conditions too. This particular variety is especially salt resistant and will grow close to the ocean, not as the first line, but behind the first trees or first line of sand dunes. This also means it is resistant to road-salt, and even to brief periods of salt-water flooding. It is also remarkably drought resistant once it is established, and this is truly a plant that can stand on its own, even in the toughest conditions. Because it is a native species, you also won’t be introducing alien plants into the natural landscape around your home or cottage.
Grow the Brodie Eastern Red Cedar in full sun, although it will tolerate a little partial shade. As long as it is well-drained, any soil is suitable, form sandy and rocky soils all the way to heavy clay. Its deep and tough root system will stabilize slopes too, and it would make a great accent on banks, planted among spreading junipers or other ground-covers. This plant rarely suffers from any of the potential pests or diseases that junipers can suffer from, although apple growers may want to avoid it, as it can spread the cedar-apple rust disease. Best of all, deer almost always leave it alone, so in your wild garden, or planted in natural areas, it will not be eaten down in winter. If you trim it, do this between early spring and early fall, and never cut back into branches that have no foliage on them – like most evergreens it cannot re-sprout from bare stumps.
History and Origins of Brodie Eastern Red Cedar Trees
The Brodie Eastern Red Cedar is a selected upright form of a particular variety of the eastern red cedar that grows in Florida, around the Gulf, and along the south-east coast of the Carolinas. Called Juniperus virginiana var. silicicola, only a botanist would be able to see the differences from the ordinary eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), which grows all the way through the eastern states from the Great Lakes into eastern Texas. The ordinary tree is tough and durable wherever it is found, but this southern form is especially notable for its resistant to extreme heat and salt, which is why the variety called ‘Brodie’ is so desirable for sea-shore planting and for hotter parts of the country.