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Saturday - September 04, 2010

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: How far east to avoid Ashe juniper pollen from Austin?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How far East of San Antonio and Austin do I have to go to avoid the pollen of Juniperus Ashei? Is Bastrop county safe? I'd be happy if it were gone 90% of the winter days - will the wind keep it away from Bastrop?

ANSWER:

How about Shreveport, Louisiana?

Another common name of Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) is Mountain Cedar. According to this article from Conifer Reproductive Biology  Cedar Fever: Juniperus Ashei Pollen on the rise:

"Mountain cedar’s allergen-laden pollen is capable of moving at least 500 km from source and its concentrations are highest at night. This means that others outside of central Texas and Oklahoma suffer too."

We had to do a little math, but 500 km is approximately 312 miles, so the 327 miles from Austin to Shreveport would give you a little leeway.

In Central Texas, mountain cedar pollens appear as early as October, peak in January, remain elevated until April, and are occasionally seen as late as May. So, from October until maybe May, you would have a heck of a commute.

A close relative of Ashe juniper, Juniperus pinchotii (Pinchot's juniper), is found to the north of us, in the Panhandle of Texas, and usually begins pollinating a little earlier. So, the first cool front coming down from the northwest is going to get the meteorologists talking about the "redberry juniper" in the pollen count. From austinallergies.com, Has Cedar Fever Come Early gives you some more information on where that pollen originates. 

So, if you move to Bastrop, TX, the juniper pollen is going to get you from the west and from the north. Sorry.

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