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Re: What Charley taught us

Makes sense.  That's what windrows provide.  Hurricane insurance oughta provide a discount for buffer landscaping.

-------------- Original message -------------- 

> Boss at the nursery spoke at a Boca Grande Garden Club luncheon last 
> week, so beforehand he had a dry run with his Administrative Assistant 
> and me [Master Gardner]. Was interesting stuff. The club had asked him 
> to evaluate whether native plants or exotic plants had handled the 
> hurricane better. On its way up the middle of the state, Charley had 
> passed just to the east of Boca Grande when it entered Charlotte 
> Harbor, which resulted in much damage on the island. 
> The first thing to realize, Stephen said, is that Boca Grande was a 
> salt-water swamp before the railroad arrived. Sometime in the mid-20th 
> century an oil tanker port was established on the southern tip of the 
> island and a railroad viaduct was built so the tankers could be off 
> loaded. When the rail line was built, Charlotte Harbor was dredged and 
> the fill was used to build up the island so it would support the rail 
> tracks and necessary buildings to maintain the port. 
> People who worked for the port planted trees--all exotic [except some 
> were native to the mainland a couple of miles away]--for shade. Then 
> the port closed and some smart folks saw an opportunity to create 
> destination real estate for the wealthy. And that's pretty much what's 
> happened. Lots of exotic trees [coconuts, gumbo limbos, schefflera, 
> white birds. on and on] have been planted to provide a canopy that the 
> true natives of the island [wild coffee, Florida privet, mangroves] 
> could not provide. 
> So what happened when Charley kissed the island was that this canopy of 
> exotic plants [and native plants, especially mangroves] created a 
> buffer, not unlike the shelter-belts of the midwest, that caused the 
> wind to uplift over most of the structures. Structures--houses and 
> such--that were densely landscaped sustained minimal damage. Structures 
> without landscape barriers sustained major damage. Most of the 
> landscapes were trashed--but a $250,000 landscape is easier to replace 
> than a $4 million house. 
> Island Jim 
> Southwest Florida 
> 27.0 N, 82.4 W 
> Zone 10a 
> Minimum 30 F [-1 C] 
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