Controlling Eastern Redcedars In Pastures

Controlling Eastern Redcedars In Pastures

April 18, 2008 

Eastern redcedar trees seem to be exploding in many area pastures. These trees reduce forage production, make animal handling difficult, and encourage pastures to shift from warm-season to cool-season grasses.


Cedar can be controlled with herbicides, cutting or fire. By far the least expensive, when it can be used safely, is fire. The effectiveness of fire declines, however, as trees get large. Herbicides like Tordon 22K® and Velpar® applied directly to the soil beneath the tree work very well, but they're time consuming to apply and more expensive. While cutting can be cheaper, it is even more time consuming, especially if cut trees need to be removed.

Recent research in Nebraska has shown that a combination of control measures can combine the strengths of each method while overcoming most disadvantages.

For best results, a prescribed fire is needed to kill many smaller trees and to weaken or improve accessibility to larger trees. It also can be used periodically, maybe every four to eight years, to eliminate new infestations.

After the prescribed burn, it usually is best to wait a year before using herbicides or cutting to complete the job because some trees that appear to survive the fire will die.

For more information on cedar control, contact your local extension office or visit the UNL Exension Publications Web site at

Bruce Anderson
Extension Forage Specialist

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