Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Salt Cedar

Last week while we were in Port Aransas, I was looking at the vegetation. There are not a lot of big trees on the island although just a few miles away on the mainland around Rockport and Fulton you start to find beautiful old wind-twisted hardwoods. I saw some pictures of PortA from about 1900 to 1930 and from the town facing the Gulf of Mexico there were not any trees, just sand dunes. Ned remembers just sand dunes and more sand dunes when he went there as a boy.

While I was in a part of town that is on the backside of the dunes, I think it is what they call Old Town,  there was quite a bit of vegetation. Along one road I spotted several of these trees. After finding out that they were called Salt Cedar, I looked them up on the web. Salt Cedar or tamarisk (tamarix ramosissima) was introduced to the USA from Eurasia in the 1820's and now they have become an invasive plant across much of the USA.

When I was looking at them I thought that these were good trees and would help stablize the sandy soil but the bad side of them is that they hog the land, kill off the native plants and they can drink 200 gallons of water a day.

In the Mercer Logs they write about planting cedar slips along the North end of the field. Most probably they were planting salt cedar in the 1870's. But who knew that they were going to turn out to be nusiance. I wonder if this salt cedar is a decendant from one of the trees the Mercers planted.

I'll write another blog soon and tell you about the Mercer Logs.


Bob Mrotek said...

There is always some good with the bad, Billie. It grows in salty soil where other trees won't grow, it provides nesting sites for birds, its flowers help the honey bees and last but not least, it gives us something to talk about :)

Gloria said...

We have to have trees, that's for sure. I agree with Bob about the nesting sites and the flowers. Great photo.

pitchertaker said...

They grow all along the river in Big Bend.