SAN ANTONIO – Perhaps your eyes are feeling a bit itchy? Maybe your throat is sore? Sinuses stuffed up? No matter how you feel it, many of us are battling through mountain cedar season -- which runs from December through February every year.
What is “mountain cedar”?
Technically, mountain cedar trees aren’t cedar trees at all! The plant we know as “mountain cedar” is actually ashe juniper (juniperus ashei).
Around Texas, ashe juniper trees mainly reside in the Hill Country, with male trees pollinating late in the year. By December, wind can easily pick up the tree pollen, spreading the irritating pollen grains across South Central Texas. By Valentine’s Day, most of the tree pollen has blown from the trees or is washed out of the air, and cedar season comes to an end.
It’s important to note that although ashe juniper cause literal and figurative headaches for millions of Texans, the trees are still very beneficial to our local ecosystem. Female mountain cedar trees produce berries, which feed many different birds and other wildlife.
What causes a high cedar count?
Because pollen grains are so light, they are easily transported by the wind. Cold fronts are very common between December and February, when winds pick up from the north. That means that anytime a cold front moves across the Hill Country into San Antonio, you can expect the mountain cedar count to become elevated.
How to treat a mountain cedar allergy
Because everyone reacts differently to a mountain cedar allergy, most allergists suggest using many different treatments. Try consistently taking an allergy pill or using a nasal spray. Allergy drops are also helpful for many. When all else fails, allergy shots from a specialist is another option.
Keeping up with the pollen count
Every morning, on KSAT 12 & KSAT.com, Your Weather Authority reports the pollen count. We also send a push notification to your phone through our Weather Authority App daily. For a nifty video explaining mountain cedar pollen that you can share with your friends, check out Kaiti Blake’s explanation below: