Articles written by Darryl McCullough (unless otherwise noted)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

And Then There Were Nineteen

In planning the East Bradenton Park Grove, we gave due attention to security. With a lot of 7-gallon trees and even a 15-gallon avocado, all top quality varieties, the collection had retail value around a thousand bucks. And in addition to the desperate people willing to cart off and sell most anything that isn’t bolted down, there are the sad cases out there of folks so alienated that they want to vandalize any beauty that the rest of us enjoy.

We didn’t want to fence the area--- in addition to the cost, it would just advertise the value of the trees. And besides, how inspiring is a grove that you can’t walk around in?

Susan Jennifer Griffith consulted the police department, who agreed to step up patrols for a month. They also advised placing a “psychological barrier”--- just a way of saying “look but don't touch.” So on planting day I took along some marking ribbon and a pile of shortlasting wooden stakes, and at the end of the planting, we left these unsubtle messages around each tree.

It worked well, but not perfectly. Two of the mango trees, an Angie and a Pickering, walked away some time during the first week. But since then, no problem. It appears that we hoped, once the grove ceased to be a novelty, its interest as a target waned. And the appreciative comments Susan receives when visiting the grove tell us that the neighborhood is starting to feel some ownership for it. No security precaution that we could use could match that.

Come spring we’ll replace the departed mango trees, though most likely with a Cogshall in place of the Angie. Josh's Angie and both of mine showed fungal problems during the heavy rains of September and October. Also, Cogshalls are nearly dwarf, with an attractive compact look, and easier for home growers to find for sale--- overall a better choice for the demo project.

Setbacks are to be expected, of course, and frankly I'm relieved that nineteen of the twenty-one trees--- more than ninety percent--- have made it through the first six months. And those appreciative comments more than make up for the loss.

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