“Standing inside one of those [cedar] brakes gave the feeling of being inside one of Nature’s cathedrals.” —Williedell Schawe, Wimberley’s Legacy, 1963

One question landowners ask when the HELM team pays them a visit is “What should I do about all this cedar?” We start by dispelling myths surrounding cedar. First, it is not really cedar at all. In fact, there are no native cedar trees in North America. The tree we Texans call cedar is actually Ashe Juniper, also known as Blueberry Juniper or Mountain Cedar. Or, if you are so inclined, its scientific name is Juniperus Ashei. And yes, it is native to Central Texas. No, the junipers are not killing your oaks. And no again, Ashe junipers are not water wicks and are not drying up our springs. In fact, the trees play a key role in protecting our precious groundwater by reducing evaporation during droughts and increasing infiltration—and with it, spring flow—during wetter periods.

Read more from Christine Middleton with Beautiful Hays County here.