Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I HAVE been preaching about the good side of vines in our garden for quite a while.  In our enclosed,  urban, concrete/asphalt  space, they perform their duties without complaint.  However, let the record show that only Bouganvilleas and a couple of Hibiscus  planted in  five holes dug in the concrete share the same air space.
They are one thing in nature, another in our residence.

They live happily ever after, helping each other hanging it there, creating a dense cool shade scaffold with little use of wires for support.  The botanical inventory is not necessary at this point since it is available in caribbeanbotanical review. Besides, most gardeners here or there do not keep vines in their installations for unknown reasons, even though
I speculate they could become cumbersome and scary, if you are prone to stiff views in terms of formal/informal, pruning and such. Or more probable, not living in a box like habitat, but open space in  four sides.

Before I get to that story,  I strongly suggest not to plant anything under/nearby Bouganvilleas like yuccas, agavaceas, lillys or any other plant with similar leave structure.  Their  flowers will accumulate and stick glue like on leaves, a messy picture.

The Once and Future Forest
Leslie Ann Sauer 
page 29 

The worst problems are usually caused by exotic vine growth.
Tangles of Japanese honeysuckle, multifora rose, porcelain berry, kudzu, oriental bittersweet, and certain other prolific climbers overwhelm the early growth stages of forest trees and sometimes even the canopy trees as well.  The description of these problems in Overton Park in Memphis by Guldin , Smith , and Thompson (1990) is an excellent example of an old-growth woodland in an urban park where honeysuckle, multiflora rose, and wisteria were blanketing gaps in the landscape and restricting the recruitment of almost all other species. 

The effect of invasive vines can be rather spectacular, but herbaceous plant competition by exotics such as knotweed,  gas mustard, and lesser cenaldine buttercup can also negatively affect recruitment.
If you wonder why I bother with this kind of information living in tropical Puerto Rico, it is simple, what goes on with nature in the country side or the urban side here is the same anywhere, same rules apply.  Only certain variables change: four seasons versus two, soil composition, altitude, wind, humidity and else.

Many of our 'forests' are covered by kudzu like vines, particularly in those areas near by highways that have been disturbed, one third of the country that you could observe without much effort while driving.. The amusing or pathetic thing is that  nojuan seems to notice, or the consequences in the long run. Having no sun light, covered with them vines,  the trees will pass away soon or later.

However, every other agency, group or individual too often talk/write about the environment as if some ideal Shangrila far away, unable to see the problems in front of their noses.

I recommend The Once and Future Forest to anyone in the practice.  Forest restoration is a complicated issue, requiring some research and careful observation. Yet going back to principles, fundamentals, once those are is understood, the rules are the same. In nature, divide and conquer is very true.  The deaf hogs dominant in Puerto Rico apparently never heard of it.  Alberto Areces Mallea, Phd, is one of them.
that is that 




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