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Re: What Charley taught us

interesting Jim... a bit of history and effects of
same. You are a fountain of knowledge!

As another thought... I have a friend who lives on the
ocean. When Charlie came thru the gardens were
destroyed, literally, but the house came thru ok. By
the time Ivan (that was the third name right) came
thru, the blocks were gone, and the house had major
damage. So I guess the windblocks are only good for
one hurricane of magnitude....

So wondering if that is why there are not many tall
natives down there... they just don't have enough time
inbetween hurricanes to grow.


--- james singer <jsinger@igc.org> wrote:

> 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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