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Life History and Disturbance Response of Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)
Family: Cupressaceae
Guild: pioneer, dry-site intolerant
Functional Lifeform: small to medium-size evergreen conifer
Ecological Role: rapidly invades abandoned fields and grows well on a wide range of soils; usually replaced by hardwoods except on poor sites or thin soils where competition is limited
Lifespan, yrs (typical/max): 150/300
Shade Tolerance: intolerant
Height, m: 12-18
Canopy Tree: yes
Pollination Agent: wind
Seeding, yrs (begins/optimal/declines): 10/25/125
Mast Frequency, yrs: 2-3
New Cohorts Source: seeds
Flowering Dates: early spring
Flowers/Cones Damaged by Frost: no
Seedfall Begins: early spring
Seed Banking: 2-3 yrs
Cold Stratification Required: yes
Seed Type/Dispersal Distance/Agent: berrylike cone/ to 100 m/ gravity, birds
Season of Germination: spring
Seedling Rooting System: variable
Sprouting: does not sprout
Establishment Seedbed Preferences:
Substrate: mineral soil
Light: open areas only
Moisture: moist required
Temperature: neutral
Disturbance response:
Fire: Eastern redcedar is highly sensitive to fire and is unable to persist on sites that burn more often than every 20 years. It increases in the absence of fire. Historically, eastern redcedar was restricted to sites which were protected from fire by topoedaphic factors and insufficient fuels. Since the fire suppression and widespread grazing that followed Euro-American settlement, eastern redcedar has invaded uplands and prairies. Prescribed burning has been used to control it. Eastern redcedar bark is very thin, and its fibrous roots lie near the surface. Its foliage is highly flammable and when ignited, crown fires are common. Seedlings and saplings are usually killed by fire, and even large trees are very fire-susceptible. Seedling establishment occurs from offsite seeds carried by birds.
Weather: Eastern redcedar foliage may be damaged by winter injury, and new seedlings are susceptible to frost-heaving. Eastern redcedar is tolerant of snow loads, but only moderately resistant to ice damage. It is extremely tolerant of drought and temperature extremes.
Air pollution: Eastern redcedar is tolerant to sulphur dioxide and hydrogen fluoride. No symptoms of foliar injury have been noted on redcedars growing in areas of high ambient ozone.