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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - December 05, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Looking for juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) for sale
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Does anyone know anyone that sells Juniper trees in pots - the central Texas kind.

ANSWER:

I believe that this is the first time that Mr. Smarty Plants has ever been asked to find a source for Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper).  Mr. Smarty Plants thinks that our Texas cedar needs more public relations representatives. The poor thing gets very little good PR! It is, after all, a native. It can be troublesome when it takes over completely land that's been cleared and abused, but it has many good features when properly managed. For one thing, birds love the berries, birds nest in its branches, and its bark is used in the nests of the endangered golden-cheeked warbler.  It provides shelter during cold winter weather and shade during hot weather. It can make a great windbreak or privacy screen for your property. It can even be coaxed into being a "regular" tree with some judicious pruning.

Now, to find junipers to buy, please go to our National Suppliers Directory and search for nurseries in the Austin area.  Many of them have websites and some of the websites have lists of available plants.  Those that don't have websites do have telephone numbers for contact.  I checked a few of the websites and found that Native Texas Nursery lists Juniperus ashei in its catalog.  However, Native Texas Nursery sells "wholesale to the trade only".   You could call or e-mail them and I imagine they would tell you which retail nurseries in the area to which they have supplied our native juniper.

If you don't find the plants for sale, you could consider growing them from seed.  There is propagation information on the Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) page and Jill Noke's in How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest has detailed information on germinating the seeds.  She says that for J. ashei "fall planting outdoors or stratification at 41° F for 30-120 days is typically sufficient pretreatment" to break the dormancy of the seed embryo.

 

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