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Unliked By Some
You will find that certain people don't like to see cedar trees show up on the midwestern landscape. This could be for several reasons:
- Conservation. The appearance of cedar trees means the forest ecosystem isn't doing too well, much like in aquaculture when you see fewer bass and more catfish and carp in a lake. They are the tough guys who will grow where others won't. They have even been spotted on the tops of natural rock walls.
- Insurance. A large grove of cedars poses a fire hazard. They can ignite into a hideous blaze very easily, and once ignited are hard to extinguish, similar to the risk of a structure being too near a barn full of hay.
- Allergy. Some people are allergic to red cedar.
- Danger to livestock. If members of your livestock like to eat cedar you might want to fence it off. It is toxic when consumed.
The Good Side
My favorite place to play as a kid was underneath a large grove of cedars. Their branches formed a maze of tunnels. Their ample boughs formed a shady roof that also kept off light rain and snow. Their dropped needles formed a mulch that prevented tall weeds and thorns from growing beneath them. Their fragrance was a sweet and soothing treat to the senses. They were also very easy to climb, as their branch structure formed a sort of natural ladder. (Needless to say I am not recommending that anybody try it.)
Cedar is a natural insect repellent. Sachets and other sorts of cedar products are often used to keep closets and drawers pleasantly scented and bug-free. Cedar is also used in many crafts. Its natural reddish tone lends it to making plaques. Its availability and workability make it a splendid choice for wooden toys. It is rot resistant and is sometimes made into things that need to take the outdoor weather, like birdhouses or squirrel feeders.
Many people like to own cedar chests to store their memories in. Such things as quilts, photos, and souvenirs will be kept free of pests and can be preserved over time in a safe, clean, cedar box. Its colors are warm, rich, and inviting.
I used to find tons of moss and reindeer lichen in the cool shelter of these majestic trees. I also often found things like cardinal nests in their boughs.
Their profusely dropped needles don't allow much to grow beneath them. While all the rest of the forest is an impenetrable tangle of underbrush, the cedar grove is quite negotiable on foot and without travail.
Whether you like them or hate them, cedars are an important and interesting part of our forests. I hope you have the good fortune to discover some by you!
Do you like cedar trees?
- MDC helps host annual red cedar tree holiday harvest | Missouri Department of Conservation
KC Wildlands event boosts public parks.