Monday, January 9, 2012

The sinister cedar

Every year about this time, I start hating trees.  Not all trees - just the ones who make my life miserable for a month or so.  You wouldn't think a tree could attack and win over thousands of people... knocking them low to where they lie in their beds, wishing they were dead.  You hear people on the bus, in the office or classroom, hacking, sneezing and basically looking like dead warmed over.

Enter the Mountain Cedar... (Juniperus ashei )  who during the months of December through May court and spark with the male trees dumping their pollen over the neighborhood in hopes of fathering baby cedars.  And its no light dusting.  The trees can easily look like they are on fire with the amount of pollen they dump.  Nor is it the occasional tree.  Think crab grass, or lawn weeds and you have an idea of how many we have in Austin and the Hill Country.  They have other bad habits as well - they absorb huge amounts of our ground water - especially during droughts.They choke out native hardwood trees and Blackland Prairie grasses. I think the one good thing about them is they provide shelter for songbirds in our areas.  

But in the months of December through February they are the deadliest of trees.  I think of this as I sit sneezing and feeling the pollen creeping into my body.