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Availability of Eastern Red Cedar

Cedar is fast-growing and plentiful. June 14, 2014

Question
Sawyers and cabinetmakers acknowledge that red cedar wood suitable for wood working comes from trees that grow in old hardwood forest, while those from open areas are of little use. With the commonly planted pine forests with controlled burns and fast growth harvests rules out the growth of cedar. With this in mind , will eastern red cedar be available for another generation? Here in North Carolina it is becoming scarce. How about other areas?

Forum Responses
(Forestry Forum)
From contributor C:
The cedar logged in the forests now were once fields back in the 1800's. Cedar growing on rocky limestone sites tends to grow slow and is tighter grained and redder than cedar growing on better soils. Cedar is growing ten times faster than it is being cut in the US. According to NRCS, cedar is taking over 760 acres per day in Oklahoma and is doing a lot of encroachment in other states. Cedar is growing four times faster than it is being cut in the Ozarks. We grind 400 truckloads of cedar for mulch from whole trees in a small area of OK. It is a weed tree that many ranchers cut, push up and burn. The cedar growing in the hardwoods in the gulleys and canyons of OK is just as good as anywhere in the US. There is over a billion board feet of cedar in those canyons. It is one of the most underutilized species in the US.

North Carolina at Greensboro was once home to George C Brown, the largest cedar paneling maker in the country. Bought out by Giles and Kendall and now operating in Huntsville AL and MO. South Carolina has a huge amount of cedar.
American Wood Fibers is grinding umpteen loads per day into pet bedding. A lot of cedar is heading to China now. The big clear logs are in high demand overseas and a lot of containers of logs along with cants head out on the water. Mills pay about 40 cents a foot here and exporters get 90 cents and up for export logs. Do not worry about us running out of cedar.



From the original questioner:
I am the elder in a family whose livelihood is dependent on eastern red cedar for our cedar chests and other cedar products. Here in central N.C. it is becoming harder to find, although there is plenty of the specie but in the form of weed trees. It is good to know from your comments that it is plentiful elsewhere. If it can be shipped to China it should not be a problem to truck it here.

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