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Burn All the Mountain Cedar

January 22, 2014

cedar-treeIt’s a beautiful day, isn’t it? A crystal blue sky and cool, enticing breeze offers a much needed respite from the oppressive heat we typically endure for most of the year. Perhaps you have a pleasant outdoor dinner at Stella Public House or go hiking along the Mission Reach.

Oh, that’s right. You can’t, because with that cool breeze comes the annual onslaught of Satan’s demon seed. Yes, as mountain cedar pollinates in its quest to spawn even more mountain cedar, San Antonio is brought to its knees, forced to endure paranasal agony.  

Fuck mountain cedar. It’s not even a real tree. It’s a shit tree, scrubby and squat and full of evil intent. Clearly what we should do is lay waste to the Hill Country, setting fire to every cedar-choked acre until nothing remains but a scorched earth.

So who’s to blame for all interminable coughing fits and excessive mucous production? Well, like most things when it comes to the environment, it’s us, or more specifically our unquenchable hunger for meat. (Meat Week starts Sunday, by the way.) According to NPR’s StateImpact Texas, juniperus ashei didn’t always dominate those Hill Country vistas. As ranchers brought in grass-grubbing livestock into the area, it allowed mountain cedar to creep over the landscape and into our uncle-crying respiratory systems.

And climate change (again, caused by us no matter what Fox News says) is not helping. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, milder winters, and prolonged drought are all contributing to increased pollen production.

So where can we find relief? The Zyrtec, it does nothing, no matter what they say. Hippies recommend a spoonful of locally cultivated honey, but the hippies are lying. You could always jam a neti pot up your nostrils and flush out your sinuses with a saline solution, but nobody’s got time for that nonsense. You could possibly ingest a parasitic worm to alleviate your allergies, but let’s be real, you are not going to do that.

Basically, you’ll just have to suffer until mountain cedar season ends in February. Then, you’ll have a few allergy-free weeks until live oak begins to pollinate and dust the earth in its yellow tree semen in the spring.

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  • harvey


  • Shawn

    I lol’ed, fun read.

  • MaryLacy

    Way back in history, Native Americans did burn areas as a way of controlling the growth of many plant species and as an aid in herding/hunting.

  • Elizabeth Anderson

    Hilarious. The problem is that if you burn cedar down… it grows right back like it did after those terrible fires in Bastrop. You have to dig it out at the root to kill it and keep it from returning. IT WON’T DIE. It’s the freaking walking dead of the forrest. Worst.

  • vitasackvillewesttexas

    Check out the Cedar Eradication Program wherein landowners can get significant help clearing their acreage of Juniperus ashei. A ranch in Sonora County cleared over 20,000 acres from their land and the natural springs have come back. Amazing flora has reappeared after a century of grazing. Don’t blame this on cattle ranchers, Oprah. We are the original environmentalists. Those who know what they are doing and have legacy ranches anyway.

  • Jewell

    Please do not burn down or eradicate mountain cedar aka Juniperus ashei. The Golden-Cheeked warbler (a federally listed endangered bird species) uses strips of the flaky bark and spider webs to construct its nest. The Golden-Cheeked warbler migrates between Central and South America and our pretty little Texas Hill country. The ONLY place it’s found in the U.S. is the Texas Hill Country… People travel from all over the world to see this bird! So even if you wanted to you couldn’t burn down all of the mountain cedar without upsetting someone. ~Jewell

  • Larry Hall

    Orange trees kin AZ and California and Florida cause a lot of allergy misery. Guess we need to burn down all orange groves as well. At a time when we are losing thousands of acres of forest a day on this planet, people wanna get stupid with this?

  • AKrambler

    My suggestion is to develop an arboreal condom of sorts. Canvas the trees, fire up a vacuum element attached to a filtered container, and leave the trees with *just* enough pollen to leave a small presence of mountain cedar in the region.

  • Neil

    Not exactly. Juniperus ashei (cedar) doesn’t regenerate without vegetation. If all of the green is cut back, the stump will die. I believe other junipers are not like this.