Pine, spruce, cedar, fir, hemlock. All of these are evergreen trees but most do not grow naturally in Clermont County. Almost all of our evergreen trees were brought here from somewhere else.
Except for two. Those are the Eastern Redcedar and Northern White-cedar. Instead of the sharp needles you see on pines and many other evergreen trees, their branches bear scale-like leaves that are flattened tightly against the stem. Unless it was planted, almost every cedar tree you’ll find in Clermont County will be the Eastern Redcedar. If you want to be sure, look closely at the scale-like foliage. The White-cedar will have more flattened, denser foliage than the Redcedar.
The Northern White-cedar is rare in the county but you can see the Eastern Redcedar all over the place including at our parks. Known as pioneer trees, Eastern Redcedar are often the first trees to start growing on an empty patch of land. That’s why you’ll find them along highways and in overgrown fields. And this is great for wildlife! Birds and other wildlife use cedar trees year-round for shelter from predators and bad weather.
It may be important to note that neither Redcedar or White-cedar is technically a true cedar (although I’m happy to call them cedars). Cedar trees from the Cedrus genus are not native to North America at all and tend to grow in some mountainous regions of Eurasia.
Whether you bring a live tree inside for the holidays or just enjoy their sharp scent while out on a hike, enjoy the evergreens!