Water Enhancement through Brush Management

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Brush Management Facts:

A mature Ashe juniper transpires about 33 gallons of water a day.  A live oak of equal size and stature only transpires about 19 gallons per day. 

The removal of juniper may actually increase deep percolation because of the improved soil structure.

As vegetation cover changes from grasses to dense juniper woodland a greater percentage of precipitation will leave rangeland via evaporation and therefore less water for producing herbaceous forage or for deep drainage and runoff.

In rainfall events of <0.1 inch, rainfall was either intercepted by the canopy (96%) or the litter (2%).  Until at least 0.4 inch of rainfall occurred, about 50% direct throughfall didn’t occur.  This also depended on the intensity of the storms.

About 35% of precipitation that falls on cedar trees is intercepted by the canopy and another 5% is intercepted by the litter.  

According to one study, the pattern of storms at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area resulted in an average interception loss of 0.82 acre feet per acre of cedar break.  

For more information on the water enhancement benefits of brush management: Brush Management Articles