En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Should I top my scraggly magnolia tree? No
January 27, 2010 - Mr.Smarty Plants, I live in Crockett,Tx. My husband and I just bought this house. In the front yard I have a very tall,scraggly magnolia tree due to trees growing up around it. We have cut some of tho...
view the full question and answer

Moths around Sophora secundiflora from Driftwood TX
March 15, 2012 - Sophora secundiflora Our Mountain Laurel has a lot of large moths flying around it. Should we be concerned? Will they hurt the tree? thank you
view the full question and answer

Pruning a rough-leaf dogwood in spring
May 04, 2012 - Is it OK to trim a rough leaf dogwood now? Should I spray after trimming? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Climbing options for a Coral honeysuckle in Austin Texas
April 16, 2013 - Regarding Coral honeysuckle, what is the best support to encourage continued spread, chicken-wire/fencing? Currently the plants and vines are on fencing and beginning to fold over. I'd like to add...
view the full question and answer

Propagating magnolias from Springtown TX
July 07, 2011 - I am trying to find out how to plant Magnolia tree seeds and what has to be done with them prior to planting, if anything and what type of soil to use.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center