Index of Species Information
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION :
Sullivan, Janet. 1993. Juniperus ashei. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station,
Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:
Juniperus sabinoides (H.B.K.) Nees sensu Sargent
J. mexicana Spreng.
J. monticola Martinez
J. occidentalis var. Texana Vasey
J. occidentalis var. conjugens Engelman
Sabina sabinoides (H.B.K.) Small
SCS PLANT CODE :
COMMON NAMES :
Ozark white cedar
The accepted scientific name for Ashe juniper is Juniperus ashei
Buchholz. Ashe juniper is thought to hybridize with redberry juniper
(J. pinchotii) [19,30]. Adams and Kistler  summarized a number of
studies that investigated the report that Ashe juniper hybridizes with
eastern redcedar (J. virginiana) [17,18]. They concluded that there was
no evidence of gene flow between the two species, even though their
ranges overlap, and morphological intermediates exist. There are no
recognized subspecies, forms, or varieties of Ashe juniper.
LIFE FORM :
FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS :
No special status
OTHER STATUS :
DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION :
Ashe juniper has a limited range in southwestern North America. It
occurs in disjunct populations in southwestern Missouri and Arkansas, in
the Arbuckle Mountains of southern Oklahoma, and in Coahuila, Mexico.
The main population occurs in west-central Texas, largely on the Edwards
FRES15 Oak - hickory
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES38 Plains grasslands
AR MO OK TX MEXICO
BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS :
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS :
K086 Juniper - oak savanna
K087 Mesquite - oak savanna
SAF COVER TYPES :
66 Ashe juniper - redberry (Pinchot) juniper
67 Mohr ("shin") oak
SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES :
HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES :
Ashe juniper forms dense to open communities with oaks (Quercus spp.),
including live oak (Q. virginiana) and Mohr oak (Q. mohriana), Texas
persimmon (Diospyros texana), and mesquite (Prosopis spp.). These
communities have invaded many acres of adjacent little bluestem
(Schizachyrium scoparium) grasslands as a result of overgrazing and fire
Publications which list Ashe juniper as a dominant or codominant
Utilization of grass- and shrublands of the southwestern United States .
A comparison of some woody upland and riparian plant communities
of the southern Edwards Plateau .
An ecological comparison of upland deciduous and evergreen forests of
central Texas .
North American shrublands .
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
WOOD PRODUCTS VALUE :
The wood of Ashe juniper is aromatic, close-grained, hard and light, but
not strong . The heartwood of Ashe juniper is durable and is used
for fenceposts, crossties, poles, small woodenware, and fuel [32,41,47].
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE :
Juniper "berries" are consumed by many species of birds and small
mammals, including bobwhite, American robin, Gambel's quail, cedar
waxwing, curve-billed thrasher, gray fox, raccoon, and thirteen-lined
ground squirrel . The foliage of Ashe juniper is occasionally
browsed by goats and deer . Individual trees may be more palatable
than the general population . Ashe juniper browse is not considered
a valuable food for deer or for livestock .
The bark of Ashe juniper is very shreddy and is used for nesting
material, most notably by the rare golden-cheeked warbler [25,41]. This
bird appears to be obligately dependent on the presence of Ashe juniper
in its habitat . It is not currently listed as endangered or
Ashe juniper "berries" are highly palatable to many species of birds and
small mammals [10,41,47]. The browse is of low palatability [10,56].
Heavy browsing of Ashe juniper in winter and spring is an indicator of
deer overpopulation and poor rangeland conditions .
NUTRITIONAL VALUE :
The nutritional value of mixed plant parts (leaves, stems and berries)
of Ashe juniper is as follows :
% of dry weight
digestible organic matter 60-70
COVER VALUE :
Ashe juniper has high escape and cover value for a number of birds and
mammals, most notably the white-tailed deer . It is important for
nesting and roosting for many species of birds .
VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES :
OTHER USES AND VALUES :
All native juniper species are valued as ornamentals . The bark of
Ashe juniper was used by Native Americans to make mats, saddles and
other items .
OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
In the last century on the Edwards Plateau in Texas, scrub oak (Texas
live oak [Quercus virginiana var. fusiformis] and Vasey oak [Q. pungens
var. vaseyana])-juniper communities have spread onto the mixed prairie.
This vegetative shift is due largely to the absence of fire, but
overgrazing, seed dispersal by livestock, and a possible shift in
climate are contributing factors [38,39,42]. It is currently estimated
that Ashe juniper occupies 0.5 million acres in southern Oklahoma and
8.6 million acres in Texas, much of it on former grasslands . Large
dense stands of Ashe juniper are considered detrimental to both
livestock and wildlife; white-tailed deer prefer open stands and edges
close to cover and a variety of foods. Dense stands of Ashe juniper
reduce the amount of understory vegetation, resulting in a decrease in
available forage .
Chemical control: Grumbles  reported that spot-application of
picloram at a rate of 0.1 ounce active ingredient (4 mL) per 3 feet (90
cm) of crown canopy diameter resulted in 97 percent mortality, except
for the very largest trees (over 15 feet [4.5 m] crown diameter).
Failure to kill the largest trees was attributed to heavy litter layers
and low precipitation. The study also determined that spring
applications were more effective than fall applications. Other authors
do not believe that herbicides are effective or economical in
controlling Ashe juniper, and that use of herbicides can be detrimental
to other species [40,49].
Mechanical control: Thirteen to eighteen years after Ashe juniper was
removed by treedozing only (no burning of piles or downed trees), Ashe
juniper comprised 50 percent or more of the total brush cover. Such
treatment leaves the seedbank intact, allowing Ashe juniper to
reestablish fairly rapidly. In similar areas where Ashe juniper was
removed by treedozing and the piles burned 5 years later, Ashe juniper
comprised less than 14 percent of total brush cover . Double
chaining Ashe juniper into piles and then burning the piles the same
year reduced Ashe juniper cover by 93 percent . Ashe juniper trees
less than 5 feet (1.5 m) tall are not pulled up by chaining, so the
areas need to be broadcast burned to kill the young Ashe junipers
between piles. Single chaining is probably effective on pure, even-aged
Ashe juniper stands and is less expensive than double chaining. The
double chaining method is recommended for stands which are uneven-aged
or have other species present in substantial numbers . To summarize
the recommended treatments: Ashe juniper should be reduced by
mechanical means and then burned about 5 years later. Any undesirable
species can be spot treated with herbicides; the area should be burned
again when Ashe juniper saplings reach 4 feet (1.2 m) in height
Sprouting species, such as Mohr oak and flameleaf sumac (Rhus
copallina), may increase on rangeland where Ashe juniper is controlled
by burning. The particular species depends on prior establishment,
treatment, and factors related to soil and aspect. Brush species have
to be evaluated as to their contribution to management goals. It is
often the case that the sprouting species are palatable and nutritious
for livestock and wildlife, and can be controlled by grazing practices.
Other species not removed by fire may not be desirable for livestock or
wildlife, and need to be controlled by other means (usually herbicides)
In general, it is neither possible nor desirable to eradicate all trees
and brush from the rangelands on the Edwards Plateau. Current
management on public lands and on private ranches recognizes the
economic value of white-tailed deer. A mixed pattern of open stands and
grassland is more desirable for deer and is also acceptable for
Culture: Germination of Ashe juniper seeds is enhanced by cold
stratification at 41 degrees Fahrenheit (4 deg C) for 120 days. Ashe
juniper seeds should be sown in the fall or cold stratified and sown in
the spring. They can be drill seeded or hand broadcast and should be
mulched. Seedlings need light shade the first growing season, as they
are easily damaged by excessive heat. Junipers in general are resistant
to damping off and root rot .
Diseases: Ashe juniper is susceptible to juniper blight (Phomopsis
juniperova), which infects foliage and stem tissue. This is a
particular problem in nursery stock. Total loss of seedlings can occur
in epidemic years. Older trees are seldom killed; mortality occurs
through girdling of small diameter stems. Control consists of the
fungicide, Benomyl, applied throughout the growing season. Ashe juniper
is resistant to cedar-apple rust (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae)
BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS :
Ashe juniper is a small, native, evergreen tree or shrub. It is usually
many-stemmed and rarely grows over 30 feet (9 m) tall. The bark is
shreddy and thin . Ashe juniper has strong taproots and has
extensive lateral roots in the surface foot of soil .
RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM :
REGENERATION PROCESSES :
Ashe juniper becomes sexually mature when 10 to 20 years old. Heavy
seed crops are produced irregularly, but some seeds are usually produced
each year. The embryo is usually dormant, and the seeds may take 2 to 3
years to germinate. There is probably some seedbank built up in the
soil; Ashe juniper seeds retained 50 percent of original viability
after 4 years of storage in high humidity at 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4
deg C) .
Ashe juniper does not reproduce asexually.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS :
Historically, Ashe juniper occurred only on rock outcrops or dissected
upland limestones but in the last century has spread to adjacent
grasslands [20,42]. It usually occurs on shallow, limestone-derived
Overstory associates not previously mentioned include Shumard oak
(Quercus shumardii), Harvard oak (Q. harvardii), post oak (Q. stellata),
sugarberry (Celtis laevigata), Texas persimmon (Diospyros texana), black
walnut (Juglans nigra), and redberry juniper [13,48,51,57,58].
Understory associates not previously mentioned include blue grama
(Bouteloua gracilis), sideoats grama (B. curtipendula), tall grama (B.
pectinata), buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides), curlymesquite (Hilaria
belangeri), vine-mesquite (Panicum obtusum), Wright threeawn (Aristida
wrightii), hairy tridens (Tridens pilosus), Texas wintergrass (Stipa
leucotricha), whitebrush (Aloysia gratissima), and huisache (Acacia
SUCCESSIONAL STATUS :
Facultative Seral Species
Ashe juniper can form dense climax stands ("cedar brakes") that suppress
the growth of understory species. Growth inhibitors contribute to such
suppression [6,8,50]. The extensive lateral root system at the surface
of the soil contributes to its competitive success in xeric
environments; dense stands of Ashe juniper are resistant to invasion
Most species of juniper are intolerant to very intolerant of shade.
Ashe juniper is probably intolerant of shade.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT :
The staminate catkins of Ashe juniper open in early spring .
Pollination of the ovulate cones occurs at this time; the fruit develops
through its first summer and is ripe in early fall and winter. The
"berries" usually persist through the winter . Germination is in
the spring, usually after one, two, or three winters .
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS :
Ashe juniper is not well adapted to fire. Its thin bark is easily
damaged by fire; the foliage often hangs near the ground, increasing the
risk of damage by ground fires; and it is nonsprouting. Small stems
(less than 1 inch [2.5 cm] in diameter) are easily killed by fire .
Mature trees in moderate to dense stands are resistant to fire. Fine
fuels in such stands are usually not sufficient to carry fire, and the
trees are usually far enough apart to prevent fire being carried from
crown to crown .
Historically, Ashe juniper was restricted to dissected uplands and
ridges that acted as fire refugia. With the suppression of fire and
poor rangeland management in the past 100 years or so, Ashe juniper has
colonized large areas of adjacent grassland [33,42,48]. Ashe juniper is
readily controlled by prescribed fire.
FIRE REGIMES :
Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this
species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under
"Find Fire Regimes".
POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY :
Tree without adventitious-bud root crown
Secondary colonizer - off-site seed
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT :
Ashe juniper seedlings are easily killed by low-severity fires. Hot
fires can kill large Ashe juniper trees [50,56]. Scorching 60 percent
of the crown will kill most Ashe juniper trees .
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT :
PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE :
Colonization of burned areas occurs through seed dispersed by birds or
mammals, or by seed that survived fire. It can take 10 to 40 years for
Ashe juniper to establish stands that are over 4 feet (1.2 m) tall [33,50].
DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE :
FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :
Dead Ashe juniper trees are highly volatile fuels and must be treated
with caution. Firebrands can carry up to 400 feet (120 m), depending on
conditions, and can ignite spot fires, especially where there is a
preponderance of highly flammable dried animal dung.
Prescribed burning is rarely used alone on mature Ashe juniper stands,
as there is usually not enough fine fuel to carry fire [34,52]. Wright
and Bailey , however, list it as a technique to convert dense stands
into more open stands.
Chained stands are the easiest to burn; herbicide-treated or treedozed
stands can also be successfully burned [34,52,53]. In order to carry
fire to ignite piles and burn seedlings, it is generally recommended
that there be a minimum of 1,000 pounds per acre (1,120 kg/ha) of fine
fuels, and 2,000 pounds per acre (2,240 kg/ha) of continuous fine fuel
is optimal [34,50,52,53]. The lower figure is not sufficient if it
consists of bunchgrasses. Plots consisting of dozed or chained Ashe
juniper piles interspersed with grasses and Ashe juniper seedlings may
be safely burned with a headfire into a 500 foot (150 m) fireline under
certain conditions [9,34,52,53].
Dalrymple  reported 100 percent mortality of individuals less than 2
feet (0.6 m) and 77 percent mortality of trees from 2 to 6 feet (0.6-1.8
m) tall after a prescribed fire in Okalahoma. Less than 25 percent of
trees taller than 6 feet (1.8 m) were killed. Juniper (Juniperus spp.)
trees in open stands can be individually ignited and burned using
propane or oil burners .
Some authors recommend windrowing of larger trees rather than dozing for
achieving crown fires. With windrows, six trees are burned for every
tree pushed into standing tree lines [6,8]. Good tree to tree spread of
fire does not occur unless the trees are less than 26 feet (8 m) apart
. Since leaf moisture is one of the most important variables for
satisfactory burning, Engle and Stritzke  tested the proposition
that an aerial application of paraquat could reduce foliage water
content and increase crown scorch during broadcast fires in tallgrass
prairie. They found that the leaf water content was significantly lower
(p < 0.0001) for all applied levels of paraquat, and that large trees
were more damaged by the paraquat plus fire treatment than by fire alone
(p < 0.0319). They conclude that paraquat can be used as a desiccant to
promote crown fires in closed-canopy stands of Ashe juniper.
One of the major environmental concerns about the use of prescribed fire
for rangeland management is increased soil loss caused by the removal of
vegetation. Wright and others  tested the effect prescribed burning
of Ashe juniper had on erosion and found that for very gentle slopes (1
to 4 percent grade), there was very little soil loss, but on moderate
(15 to 29 percent) or steep (45 to 53 percent) slopes the losses
increased greatly. The amount and duration of soil loss depended
largely on vegetative cover and slope. The negative effects of burning
Ashe juniper can be mitigated by artificially seeding moderate and steep
slopes. With adequate precipitation, the resulting ground cover can
reduce the amount of time needed to stabilize soils from 18 months to 3
months on steep slopes. Total stabilization (i.e. return to
pretreatment levels of soil loss) can be reduced from 42 months to 6
months, again with adequate precipitation .
A 10- to 40-year interval between prescribed fires is recommended to
maintain control of Ashe juniper; a general rule of thumb is to burn
when Ashe juniper trees are 4 feet (1.2 m) tall [33,34,38,53].
FIRE CASE STUDY
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
FIRE CASE STUDY CITATION :
Sullivan, Janet., compiler. 1993. Effects of fire on Ashe juniper in central Texas.
In: Juniperus ashei. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online].
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer).
Wink, Robert L.; Wright, Henry A. 1973. Effects of fire on an ashe
juniper community. Journal of Range Management. 26(5): 326-329. .
SEASON/SEVERITY CLASSIFICATION :
1) Spring/low--followed wet winter and spring
2) Spring/high--followed dry winter and spring
STUDY LOCATION :
The Beckham Ranch, Callahan County, 14 miles (24 km) southeast of Baird,
PREFIRE VEGETATIVE COMMUNITY :
The natural vegetation of the area consists of mixed-prairie grasses
interspersed with Ashe juniper and several species of oak. The dominant
decreasers are little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and sideoats
grama (Bouteloua curtipendula). Important increasers are buffalograss
(Buchloe dactyloides), vine-mesquite (Panicum obtusum), Texas
wintergrass (Stipa leucotricha), tall grama (B. pectinata) and meadow
dropseed (Sporobolus asper var. hookeri).
TARGET SPECIES PHENOLOGICAL STATE :
Large Ashe juniper trees were bulldozed and piled in 1965 (burning took
place in 1970 and 1971). Small Ashe junipers that escaped the
bulldozers and new seedlings were also present.
SITE DESCRIPTION :
Average annual precipitation is 24 to 28 inches (600-700 mm). The
topography of the area is level to undulating with some slopes greater
than 20 percent. Elevation is 1,198 to 1,394 feet (365-425 m). The
average minimum January temperature is 23 degrees Fahrenheit (-5 deg C),
and the average maximum July temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35
deg C). The average growing season is 232 days.
Sandy loam sites in the study area have deep soils with fine sandy loam
surfaces 6 to 14 inches (15-36 cm) thick, and sandy clays and sandy loam
subsoils. The soils are slowly to moderately permeable. The low stony
hill site consists of very shallow, moderately permeable, calcareous,
stony clay soils. Depth ranges from 6 to 12 inches (15-31 cm) with
limestone rocks and boulders present on the surface and in the profile
in various amounts.
All three sites were sampled for herbage production and fine fuel
concentration, and individual plots were marked to measure pile
consumption and tree mortality. The uniformly fine fuels ranged from
686 to 3,186 pounds per acre (768-3,568 kg/ha). The estimated amount of
heavy fuels (piles of Ashe juniper) varied from 20 to 30 tons per acre
(44.8-67.2 t/ha) and occupied from 0 to 85 percent of the area with
an average cover of 22 percent.
FIRE DESCRIPTION :
Air temperature: 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (24-30 deg C)
humidity: 25-35 percent
wind speed: 10 to 15 miles per hour (16-25 km/h)
The objectives of the prescribed fires were to consume the piles of dead
trees and to burn the intervening areas where Ashe juniper seedlings had
established. Fires were conducted in 2 separate years. In March of
1970, one pasture of 1,013 acres (405 ha) was burned, and in March 1971,
2 pastures for a total of 1,620 acres (648 ha) were burned. All areas
were burned with headfires. The ignition pattern was a combination of
perimeter and strip headfiring.
Fire intensities were not reported.
FIRE EFFECTS ON TARGET SPECIES :
Plots on which fine fuels were 686 and 859 pounds per acre (768 and 962
kg/ha) were not successful in carrying the fire. On plots where fine
fuels exceeded 1,000 pounds per acre (1,120 kg/ha), 99 percent of the
piles were consumed by fire. The March 1971 fires followed 6 months of
very dry weather and were conducted under the lowest humidities and
highest winds that could be tolerated for prescribed burning. Where
large piles were within 40 feet (12 m) of each other, firebrands would
ignite the piles downwind, precluding the necessity of continuous fine
Ashe juniper mortality was high where the fine fuels were adequate to
carry the headfire. Of 368 trees under 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, only one
survived. Many trees over 6 feet (1.8 m) tall were killed by the fire,
particularly where fine fuels exceeded 2,000 pounds per acre (2,240
FIRE MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS :
Prescribed burning is a useful method for controlling Ashe juniper
encroachment on grasslands. It is recommended that the larger trees be
chained or dozed to assure mortality and to concentrate dead stems into
piles. Fires require a minimum of 1,000 pounds per acre (1,120 kg/ha)
of fine fuels for successful spread, and 2,000 pounds per acre (2,240
kg/ha) is optimal. Soil moisture should be a primary consideration
before conducting a prescribed fire. Herbaceous plants require good
soil moisture for rapid recovery after the fire, which helps reduce soil
erosion. Burning increased the yield of little bluestem and meadow
dropseed after the 1970 fire, which followed a wet winter and spring.
The same species decreased about 50 percent after the 1971 fires
following a dry winter and spring.
Vegetation on the burned juniper pile areas differed from that adjacent
to the piles. Silver leaf nightshade (Solanum elaeagnifolium) and
Carolina horsenettle (S. carolinense) were dominant on the burned pile
areas, and may need to be controlled with herbicides. Smoothleaf sumac
(Rhus glabra) also increase in prominence on the burned pile areas.
SPECIES: Juniperus ashei
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