Rethinking the Mountain Cedar, a.k.a. Juniperus ashei

Soils in the Hill Country of Texas have been subjected to numerous severe disturbances over the last 150 years. If Mountain Cedars hadn't morphed from trees in forests and woodlands into pioneering thickets of bushy-cedars, our soils would be much more degraded today.

Copyright © 2021 Elizabeth McGreevy

Tree-cedars vs. Bushy-cedars

Historically, the Hill Country went from a landscape characterized by large, older tree-cedars with well-defined central trunks to pioneering thickets of bushy-cedars.

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Large, upland Mountain Cedar at the Shield Ranch with a 31 inch wide trunk. It's at least 300 years old, but could be 500 years old or older. Click HERE to see more photographs of larger Mountain Cedars. Click HERE to estimate Mountain Cedar ages.


Medium, upland Mountain Cedar with a 14 inch wide trunk. Its age ranges from 140 to 233 years old. Click HERE for more photographs of the amazingarray of Mountain Cedar growth habits.


Many Mountain Cedars look more like Eastern Red Cedars. Click HERE to learn the differences. These are called pole-cedars. They were used to build early settler homes, barns, smoke houses,  corn cribs, corrals, and worm fences. Later, they were sold as telegraph and telephone poles and railroad ties. The smaller pieces were sold as fence posts.