Trees, Shrubs, and Vines of the Texas Hill Country: A Field Guide by Jan WredeIf you imagine the Texas Hill Country solely as dry limestone slopes of cedar and scrub oak, prepare to have your eyes opened. The Edwards Plateau, upon which the Hill Country sits, is also a land of lush cypress-lined streams, diverse thickets, and shady hardwood bottomlands. Edged by canyonlands and intersected by creeks, these rocky hills support an abundance of trees, shrubs, and vines that provide food and cover for wildlife and create a distinct and durable landscape.
In this book, Jan Wrede has compiled a field guide to more than 125 species of mostly native, mostly woody plants of the Texas Hill Country. A thoughtful introduction discusses deer, cedar, water, oak wilt, and invasive species—timely issues of increasing importance for a growing number of Texas landowners. Plant descriptions contain information about the leaves, flowers, fruit, and bark of each plant and also give insights into the species’ range and habits. A color photograph accompanies each account.
Especially useful is a comprehensive plant chart with tips about color, scent, flowering period, height, site preference, and wildlife and livestock utilization. A recommended reading list, a resource guide, and a glossary round out this information-packed book.
Cedar Tree Clearing
This story originally ran in , but judging from the tickle in our throats, it seems appropriate to post again for your perusal. It is not unheard of for mountain cedar pollen to amass in the air and create a haze in the Hill Country sky. More importantly, how did it become so problematic in Central Texas?
Cedar trees are common in the Hill Country and Edwards Plateau
Nees sensu Sargent J. Small . Juniperus ashei Ashe juniper , post cedar , mountain cedar , or blueberry juniper is a drought -tolerant evergreen tree , native to northeastern Mexico and the south-central United States north to southern Missouri ; the largest areas are in central Texas , where extensive stands occur. The feathery foliage grows in dense sprays, bright green in color. It is a dioecious species, with separate male and female plants. They contain one or two seeds , which are dispersed when birds eat the cones and pass the seeds in their droppings.
Brushshark tree shear in action clearing cedar in the Texas Hill Country
And no wonder. On particularly chilly mornings, clouds of pollen can turn the tops of hills blue. Below is a roundup of information you might not know, especially if you are a newcomer or only really think about the trees when their pollen creates trouble. They provide cover for wildlife, taking up root readily in poor soils, and are drought tolerant. They see the trees as little more than weeds and make a routine effort to take them out. Part of the push to eliminate the trees comes from a belief that the they are not only drought tolerant but also water greedy. Selah, Bamberger Ranch Preserve in Blanco County reports that after they worked to restore their original habitat—including restoring native grasses and taking out the cedar—their springs began flowing again.