Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - November 14, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Possibility of symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is there a symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper? We have a small ashe juniper sapling and a small cedar elm sapling growing near each other (actually, we planted the juniper 2 years ago because we often see the two trees growing together in the wild). The juniper is very prickly and unsuitable for our yard and we wish to take it out, but don't want to harm the growing cedar elm. Is it ok to cut down the juniper? thanks!

ANSWER:

I can find no information suggesting that there is a symbiotic relationship between the two species, cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia) and ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei). They probably grow together because they both like the same growing conditions—soil type and moisture. The distributions of cedar elm and ashe juniper overlap in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, but cedar elm also occurs further east in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida without ashe juniper. The fact that cedar elm grows without ashe juniper nearby in those states would seem to be evidence that there isn't a symbiotic relationship between the two. Your cedar elm should grow just fine without the juniper nearby.

Concerning the "pricklyness" of the juniper, if it is a very small, young tree, its prickly needles are its defense against being eaten. As it matures it will lose the sharp needles and become less prickly, so you might consider keeping it. However, if it turns out to be a pollen-producing male tree, you might want to think about cutting it down if you or your neighbors are allergic to the juniper pollen.

 

More Trees Questions

Transplanting crabapples in NJ
October 25, 2010 - I purchased a mature Red Baron crabapple in march of this year from a reputable nursery here in southern NJ. The tree was in the ground when I first viewed it, and since it was march and hadn't bloom...
view the full question and answer

Will damage to live oak root make it more susceptible to oak wilt
December 24, 2012 - Hi. I knicked the root of a live oak when digging. Will this hurt the tree and make it more succeptible to wilt? Is there something I can use to protect the exposed part of the root and make it les...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing trees for privacy in East Texas
September 02, 2013 - Fast growing tree seeds for my area to create a tree grove for privacy.
view the full question and answer

Sycamore leaf snowbell from Pleasanton TX
August 18, 2012 - How do you care for a sycamore leaf snowbell. Does it like sun or part shade? How much water? How often and what should it be fed. How fast or slowly does it grow? Anything you can tell me would be ap...
view the full question and answer

Tree that will not interfere with hardscape in San Diego
February 07, 2009 - I am looking for a small tap root tree that will reach max height of 20-25 ft. The area is only about 4 to 6 ft. to the house slab or driveway which I need to be very careful so it doesn't crack the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.