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AnTonY

The Ideal Vegetative Aesthetic for Houston

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5 hours ago, AnTonY said:

 

Except that there's nothing that says areas dedicated to forest can't exist alongside agricultural lands and neighborhoods. So no contradiction there.

 

Of course there's a subjective component to these matters, hence why I specified my qualifier: name a single reason to preserve these prairies that won't be better served by a forest.

 

You are comparing apples and oranges here.  I didn't say that theoretically someone couldn't plant a forest.  I'm saying no one is going to.  If anything, the opposite is true.  There is at least one organization that I know of dedicated to purchasing or otherwise getting land set-asides to preserve the prairie.

 

As for your qualifier, a number of valid reasons have been presented any one of which, by definition, meets the criteria of "name a single reason".

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5 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

He was stating that the discussion was academic, for several reasons, including, unfortunately, that people are still intent on building tract homes on the prairie. That does not "defeat his argument" that converting prairies to forests is an ecologically foolhardy suggestion.

 

The discussion may be academic, but ideals do change.

 

5 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

No, soil is not the "true influencer" you are being ridiculously reductivist, it's soil, it's rainfall, but as I said before, it's not just average annual rainfall that matters in supporting forest, it's rainfall patterns, seasonal rainfall, so if you have marginal soils for forest AND they're getting plenty of rain, but it's coming at the wrong time of the year for trees' growing cycle, and you don't have close-enough spaced local watersheds, you're going to get prairie in between your riparian forests.

 

Nope, no reductionism, you're just too busy flexing to grasp the nuance that relates to the simple fact. While there are indeed several factors at hand, soil, by far, remains the most important factor when it comes to why the prairie here even exists. It's not hard to figure that out, just simply look at where the prairie covers, then look at the annual rainfall map: the prairie goes all the way into Louisiana, into areas that are wetter than the Piney Woods....throughout the year (making the seasonal cycles moot).

 

And even in regards to seasonal cycles....the areas closer to the coast in the prairie are cooler and wetter during summer (where rainfall is needed most) than areas farther inland (which may get more winter rainfall ... a time of year that is irrelevant when everything is dormant). 

 

And like I said, even the far western areas of Houston and Texas Gulf are still wet enough for forest. There's such a thing as "dry forest," you know.

 

 

6 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

Even if you were right and soil type were the predominant factor, that would make your argument for "wiping the entire prairie out, and replacing it with subtropical jungle forests" a stupid idea that would never work. If soil is the reason it can't grow forests, how the hell do you think we're going to replace all the soil on the coastal prairie?

 

Oh gee, I don't know, take the obvious stepwise format to the earthwork and plantings? 🙄

 

6 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

When you look at the soil types of Harris County, roughly below I-10 we are dominated by the Midland-Beaumont association: poorly drained, very slowly permeable, loamy and clayey soils. Yes, that's a very hard soil type to grow forest on. Except, this type extends all the way up into the extreme northeast part of Harris County where it hits Liberty County, which is all dense pine forest. So obviously soil type isn't all that's going on here.

 

And that kind of soil isn't predominant everywhere. North of I-10, the Clodine-Addicks-Gessner association predominates. It's a loamy, poorly drained, moderately permeable soil, yet it supports dense pine forest east of 290 all the way to past 59 North , transitioning to open woodland and prairie west of 290. So obviously soil type isn't the driving factor on that soil type, either. And Clodine-Addicks-Gessner association transitions to Katy-Aris association west of Highway 6. Katy-Aris is actually a little better soil for forests in some ways than Clodine-Addicks association, but we know what the landscape looks like west of Highway 6, now don't we?

 

Keep in mind that an association simply refers to the parent material, which gives way to different soil forms (loamy, sandy, and clayey). So with Midland-Beaumont association, the hard, clayey portion obviously corresponds to the prairie, while the easier, loamy areas would correspond to the forests.

 

Not to mention that soil divisions obviously don't follow clean lines in real life vs the more broader depictions on the map.

 

6 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

No. Not all bird species are looking for trees. And then we have all the other avian and nonavian nonmigratory species that are specifically adapted to prairie life. And prairies are actually the more endangered habitat. We actually have more forest than we did 100 years ago, but prairies are diminishing.

 

Right, and those animals that don't need forests would still have plenty of open land available for them amongst the woods. Prairies may well be endangered on a world-wide viewpoint,  but in terms of strictly this Texas coastal prairie, wiping it out won't really lead to any real repercussions.

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6 hours ago, s3mh said:

You are a troll.  You cannot swap out the prairie habitat for various ponds and waterways in a forest environment.  The main reason so many ducks, geese, waders, etc. flock to the prairie is for food.  Prairie pot holes and wetlands are full of food for these birds.  Bugs, seeds, plant tubers, grains, berries, insects, earthworms, mice, snakes, lizards, frogs and crayfish are in abundance in prairie habitats but do not exist in woodland environments, even when there are ponds, streams, etc.  Just go to the Katy Prairie or Brazoria NWR in the spring and then go to a wooded area and compare the number of ducks, geese, etc. that you see.  Passerines do not need the prairies.  They generally will stop to rest north of I-10 in wooded areas when migrating when wind currents are favorable.  The coastal "migrant traps" are critical when there are fall out conditions.  But, again, you will do way more harm getting rid of prairie habitat than any benefit gained from adding wooded habitat when it comes to birds.

 

Laughable. Every single one of those food sources and/or creatures you named are found, if anything, in greater abundance among forest land than in prairies. And all the species that need open land would still find it across many areas of forests.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, s3mh said:

Forests and prairies are both great for water quality.  But you want a prairie up against your coastal estuary environment because it is much better at withstanding floods/droughts than forested land.  That is why you see wooded areas further inland and closer to waterways with prairies filling up the rest of the land mass in natural areas like Brazoria, San Bernard

and McFaddin NWR.  If you rip out prairie and replace it with a forest that dies off in a drought, you will have a big ecological mess on your hands.  

 

7 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

 

I just wanted to single out and emphasize this excellent point that is the central issue in this discussion.

 

Drought is sort of an overstated issue, because it isn't really a problem for Houston/SE Texas like it is in the rest of the state. In fact, you're more likely to experience severe summer droughts/heat waves in the actual forests of the Piney Woods than in much of the Houston area. Texarkana, for instance, has seen temps as high as 117F.

 

I said this earlier, but most issues with drought here in Houston are indirect, in that the clay soil makes it more of an issue than would otherwise be. Conversion of that soil, as would be done to establish forest, would minimize the issues of drought (greater permeability = more water available for tree roots). 

 

That being said, risks are minimized by starting with eastern metro areas like Houston Hobby/Pearland and Galveston Bay/coast. These areas offer the mildest climate in the Houston area, and so can handle more tender trees. Going farther inland and (north) west, the species gradually get hardier.

Edited by AnTonY

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3 hours ago, august948 said:

 

You are comparing apples and oranges here.  I didn't say that theoretically someone couldn't plant a forest.  I'm saying no one is going to.  If anything, the opposite is true.  There is at least one organization that I know of dedicated to purchasing or otherwise getting land set-asides to preserve the prairie.

 

As for your qualifier, a number of valid reasons have been presented any one of which, by definition, meets the criteria of "name a single reason".

 

 @s3mh provided the closest thing to a decent answer in this thread. And even then, his argument still didn't hold up.

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10 hours ago, AnTonY said:

 

The discussion may be academic, but ideals do change.

 

 

Nope, no reductionism, you're just too busy flexing to grasp the nuance that relates to the simple fact. While there are indeed several factors at hand, soil, by far, remains the most important factor when it comes to why the prairie here even exists. It's not hard to figure that out, just simply look at where the prairie covers, then look at the annual rainfall map: the prairie goes all the way into Louisiana, into areas that are wetter than the Piney Woods....throughout the year (making the seasonal cycles moot).

 

And even in regards to seasonal cycles....the areas closer to the coast in the prairie are cooler and wetter during summer (where rainfall is needed most) than areas farther inland (which may get more winter rainfall ... a time of year that is irrelevant when everything is dormant). 

 

And like I said, even the far western areas of Houston and Texas Gulf are still wet enough for forest. There's such a thing as "dry forest," you know.

 

 

 

Oh gee, I don't know, take the obvious stepwise format to the earthwork and plantings? 🙄

 

For all your throwing around the stupid word “flex” to describe my comments, all you’re doing is talking circles around the issue to try to distract people from the hole you’ve dug for yourself, just like in the Galveston water topic. Whoever said was right, you’re just a troll. 

 

Okay, give us a number of how much you think it would cost to convert all the prairie prairie soil into soil suitable for forests. 

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4 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

For all your throwing around the stupid word “flex” to describe my comments, all you’re doing is talking circles around the issue to try to distract people from the hole you’ve dug for yourself, just like in the Galveston water topic. Whoever said was right, you’re just a troll. 

 

Okay, give us a number of how much you think it would cost to convert all the prairie prairie soil into soil suitable for forests. 

 

Here's a map of the area from the KPC.

 

2017.03.13+Orientation+Map_Brand+Colors+

So AnTonY's suggestion is that we plow up this area to a depth of maybe 10 or 15 feet to remedy the soil?  Can you say ecological disaster?

 

tenor.gif

 

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I'm just going to walk by and drop this off. Are these people wrong then @AnTonY ? Thats a lot of people who have a great wealth of useful experience to be wrong. Just look at all that prairie they want to implement.

 

Memorial Park Master Plan:

 

https://issuu.com/memorialparkhouston/docs/mph_mpbook_final_small_webversion_a_c7f9e7eed3d03c

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Posted (edited)

Maybe AnTonY can get EIseed to chime in on his side: "Nah dudes, AnTonY's idea would be totally awesome. Like a cross between South Beach and the Hamptons. Maybe add a crystal clear blue lagoon. It's kinda lame as it is.You guys just have limited thinking. Not wanting to tear up natural habitat to make it 'better' is very old school Texan thinking. You have no imagination. It would be epic."

Edited by Reefmonkey
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Posted (edited)

Houston has had inordinate wealth and ambitious people for over 120 years now. Lush subtropical forests have been popular for ~200 years now. City beautification efforts have been popular since the turn of the last century.

 

Which is to say... if this were an easy process, there’s no reason to think it would not have been done already. So a reasonable assumption is that this is not an easy process.

 

If something seems obvious, and hasn’t been done, your first assumption should never be that people were lazy or stupid. There’s either a good reason, or a predictable one (like corruption or greed).

Edited by ADCS
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2 hours ago, Luminare said:

I'm just going to walk by and drop this off. Are these people wrong then @AnTonY ? Thats a lot of people who have a great wealth of useful experience to be wrong. Just look at all that prairie they want to implement.

 

Memorial Park Master Plan:

 

https://issuu.com/memorialparkhouston/docs/mph_mpbook_final_small_webversion_a_c7f9e7eed3d03c

 

2 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

Maybe AnTonY can get EIseed to chime in on his side: "Nah dudes, AnTonY's idea would be totally awesome. Like a cross between South Beach and the Hamptons. Maybe add a crystal clear blue lagoon. It's kinda lame as it is.You guys just have limited thinking. Not wanting to tear up natural habitat to make it 'better' is very old school Texan thinking. You have no imagination. It would be epic."

 

43 minutes ago, ADCS said:

Houston has had inordinate wealth and ambitious people for over 120 years now. Lush subtropical forests have been popular for ~200 years now. City beautification efforts have been popular since the turn of the last century.

 

Which is to say... if this were an easy process, there’s no reason to think it would not have been done already. So a reasonable assumption is that this is not an easy process.

 

If something seems obvious, and hasn’t been done, your first assumption should never be that people were lazy or stupid. There’s either a good reason, or a predictable one (like corruption or greed).

 

tenor.gif

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1 hour ago, ADCS said:

Houston has had inordinate wealth and ambitious people for over 120 years now. Lush subtropical forests have been popular for ~200 years now. City beautification efforts have been popular since the turn of the last century.

 

Which is to say... if this were an easy process, there’s no reason to think it would not have been done already. So a reasonable assumption is that this is not an easy process.

 

If something seems obvious, and hasn’t been done, your first assumption should never be that people were lazy or stupid. There’s either a good reason, or a predictable one (like corruption or greed).

 

You were great until the very last line. Actually it is the reverse. Its always better to assume ignorance over malevolence. The odds that people are secretly super crazy smart super villains is incredibly low compared to lazy and stupid. How many super villains or mustachio twirling evil doers do you know compared to people that are just lazy or stupid?

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Posted (edited)

 

6 hours ago, ADCS said:

Houston has had inordinate wealth and ambitious people for over 120 years now. Lush subtropical forests have been popular for ~200 years now. City beautification efforts have been popular since the turn of the last century.

 

Which is to say... if this were an easy process, there’s no reason to think it would not have been done already. So a reasonable assumption is that this is not an easy process.

 

If something seems obvious, and hasn’t been done, your first assumption should never be that people were lazy or stupid. There’s either a good reason, or a predictable one (like corruption or greed).

 

There's also the simple fact that the people back then did not have as accurate of an understanding regarding the circumstances here, nor did they have the technological capability to deal with it.

 

 

 

Edited by AnTonY

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14 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

For all your throwing around the stupid word “flex” to describe my comments, all you’re doing is talking circles around the issue to try to distract people from the hole you’ve dug for yourself, just like in the Galveston water topic. Whoever said was right, you’re just a troll. 

 

Okay, give us a number of how much you think it would cost to convert all the prairie prairie soil into soil suitable for forests. 

 

8 hours ago, Luminare said:

I'm just going to walk by and drop this off. Are these people wrong then @AnTonY? Thats a lot of people who have a great wealth of useful experience to be wrong. Just look at all that prairie they want to implement.

 

Memorial Park Master Plan:

 

https://issuu.com/memorialparkhouston/docs/mph_mpbook_final_small_webversion_a_c7f9e7eed3d03c

 

It's not that anyone has been wrong about this, just that there's a sheer lack of vision. It's one thing to learn and understand that information through a Master's level education, but it's a completely different ball game when it comes to taking that information, and connecting it all together as pieces of the grand plan.

 

Troll is an overused word, by the way, which reeks of compensation and defensiveness in the face of defeat.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Luminare said:

 

You were great until the very last line. Actually it is the reverse. Its always better to assume ignorance over malevolence. The odds that people are secretly super crazy smart super villains is incredibly low compared to lazy and stupid. How many super villains or mustachio twirling evil doers do you know compared to people that are just lazy or stupid?

 

See, I'd agree in most scenarios, but not when it comes to big public works projects. You can get people on board with that, and because it's usually a mass collective effort, it doesn't take all that much from any one person. However, where do these projects almost always get hung up? When it's encroaching on some honcho's territory, or demanding a benefit to a small, well-connected group at the expense of a large group of politically weaker people.

 

It's not malevolence so much as acquisitiveness and or defensiveness I'm talking about.

Edited by ADCS

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, AnTonY said:

 

 

It's not that anyone has been wrong about this, just that there's a sheer lack of vision. It's one thing to learn and understand that information through a Master's level education, but it's a completely different ball game when it comes to taking that information, and connecting it all together as pieces of the grand plan.

 

Troll is an overused word, by the way, which reeks of compensation and defensiveness in the face of defeat.

That’s pure gibberish. And you ARE wrong here. You haven’t actually articulated a “vision “ or “grand plan“, your idea echoes the shortsighted  “rain follows the plough” cargo cult-type reasoning that lead to the Dust Bowl. You’re displaying blatant confirmation bias; because you don’t like the look of the prairie and because you don’t want to “lose” an Internet argument, you’re scouring the web for information that you interpret as supporting your position while overlooking and attempting to minimize any contradictory information. But  again you fall back on accusing people of “defensivess” for calling you out on your BS. “Troll” may or may not be overused, but in your case it’s warranted. 

Edited by Reefmonkey
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

That’s pure gibberish. And you ARE wrong here. You haven’t actually articulated a “vision “ or “grand plan“, your idea echoes the shortsighted  “rain follows the plough” cargo cult-type reasoning that lead to the Dust Bowl. You’re displaying blatant confirmation bias; because you don’t like the look of the prairie and because you don’t want to “lose” an Internet argument, you’re scouring the web for information that you interpret as supporting your position while overlooking and attempting to minimize any contradictory information. But  again you fall back on accusing people of “defensivess” for calling you out on your BS. “Troll” may or may not be overused, but in your case it’s warranted. 

 

Yup, you're definitely trying too hard there. And I wouldn't start talking about reasoning errors if I were you, because you've made quite the lionshare throughout both of these threads.

Edited by AnTonY

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Posted (edited)

Ah, looks like you edited out the "deep in your heart" histrionics and replaced it with a completely baseless accusation of reasoning errors. I'd say let's have a show of hands as to which one of us is off base here, but the replies and likes in this thread have already established that.

Edited by Reefmonkey

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Reefmonkey said:

Ah, looks like you edited out the "deep in your heart" histrionics and replaced it with a completely baseless accusation of reasoning errors. I'd say let's have a show of hands as to which one of us is off base here, but the replies and likes in this thread have already established that.

 

Oh look, yet another reasoning error from you (see: appeal to popularity). You also seem to be calling the kettle black again.  Nah, you're the joke here, and so is your master's degree. No amount of amens from the peanut gallery will change that.

Edited by AnTonY

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Posted (edited)

Resorting again to the childish attacks on my education, I see. As if that doesn't reek of desperation. Poor little Tony is all riled up.

Edited by Reefmonkey

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^^^How many reefmonkeys does it take to compensate for a failed argument? One, apparently.

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Wow, that was...that was just awkward. I'm feeling embarrassed for you now, and this has just gotten tiresome, and a little creepy now, so I'm out.

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Posted (edited)

^^^Imagine spending all those years on a Master's, just to end up so....dull.

Edited by AnTonY

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On 3/27/2019 at 11:57 AM, AnTonY said:

 

First off, soils in forest lands don't cause as much runoff issues in the first place, because they tend to be better drained/permeabile than those under prairies, meaning that more of the water goes to recharge the underground aquifer. Second, the root system of any tree includes both depth (taproot) and lateral anchoring, far superior to any grass when it comes to holding the soil.

 

As I mentioned before, the converted habitat would still have the coast, along with the numerous ponds, waterways, etc, which leaves more than enough room for all those waterfowl. Meanwhile, the perching birds definitely have more resting spots, easy food access, coverage, etc in forests than in prairies.

 

Biodiversity improves. Those birds all have superior resting areas, combined with more shadow to allow shade tolerant plants, while still having enough openings for the sun-loving species that grow in the prairies.

Biodiversity improves? No, it's just different. The entire coastal plain's flora and fauna evolved to live in the prairie environment, not forests. The flora and fauna of the estuaries and bays evolved to live in an environment fed by the prairies. Why do you want to destroy that when there's plenty of forest not far away, growing on soils that support forests?

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Ross said:

Biodiversity improves? No, it's just different. The entire coastal plain's flora and fauna evolved to live in the prairie environment, not forests. The flora and fauna of the estuaries and bays evolved to live in an environment fed by the prairies. Why do you want to destroy that when there's plenty of forest not far away, growing on soils that support forests?

 

The biodiversity of the land would indeed improve. The presence of forests gives room for the shade tolerant organisms to establish present.

 

Meanwhile, there are still more than enough clearings necessary for the prairie species. Plus, this isn't the Amazon, where there are actually thousands of endemic creatures found nowhere else on the planet that depend specifically on the habitat: the organisms of the coastal prairie are mostly just your basic species found in wide areas of the Southern US, and so already can handle wide varieties of habitat anyway. That lack of endemism is essentially what nails the coffin on the prairies usefulness regarding my point.

 

The estuaries and bays would also improve in biodiversity, since their clarity would be improved due to lesser runoff from the forest soils.

 

 

Edited by AnTonY

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Posted (edited)
Quote

“As the climate changes, severe droughts are likely to become more common, and we shouldn’t miss the opportunities to influence the hydrologic cycle in a beneficial way using trees,” he said.

 

"After oceans, forests are the most efficient sources of precipitation," said Ellison, who studied the world’s major river basins to identify what proportion of water vapour came from evapo-transpiration from terrestrial plants as compared with the seas.

 

Evapo-transpiration is a very large component of rain generation – on average about 50% in summer across the globe, and 40% on an annual basis,” he said.

 

”We know that trees in forests are the most efficient evapo-transpirators out there. If we compare them to say agricultural land cover, trees can evapo-transpirate twice as much as agricultural crops and about twice as much as water body surfaces.

 

https://forestsnews.cifor.org/10316/make-it-rain-planting-forests-to-help-drought-stricken-regions?fnl=en

 

So @Reefmonkey, looks like it does "follow the plow" after all 😏

Edited by AnTonY

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On 3/25/2019 at 3:10 PM, mollusk said:

 

Oh yeah, sorry I missed this part, it was buried in the vast amounts of stalwart reactionarism:

 

While the whooping crane is endangered, the territory is not endemic to Texas, and nesting grounds are on the immediate shoreline, not the coastal prairie. Conversion to forest won't harm this species.

 

Now the prairie chicken, that is exactly the type of species I was referring to, endemic to the region and dependent upon the habitat. It seems though, that much of the remaining population is already confined to the wildlife refuge this is protecting them. Therefore, the conversion can still go through, so long it ignores the areas of protected land.

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27 minutes ago, AnTonY said:

 

Well then, forget the forest.  We need to raise the entire city about 7,000 feet or so.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, august948 said:

 

Well then, forget the forest.  We need to raise the entire city about 7,000 feet or so.

 

Nah, that's just weather patterns. But even then, we've dealt with great heights a fair share of our history: they don't call Houston "Space City" for nothing. 😊

Edited by AnTonY

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1st Soldier with a Keen Interest in Birds: Where'd you get the coconuts?

King Arthur: We found them.

1st Soldier with a Keen Interest in Birds: Found them? In Mercia? The coconut's tropical!

King Arthur: What do you mean?

1st Soldier with a Keen Interest in Birds: Well, this is a temperate zone.

King Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun or the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land?

1st Soldier with a Keen Interest in Birds: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?

King Arthur: Not at all. They could be carried.

1st Soldier with a Keen Interest in Birds: What? A swallow carrying a coconut?

King Arthur: It could grip it by the husk!

1st Soldier with a Keen Interest in Birds: It's not a question of where he grips it! It's a simple question of weight ratios! A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut.

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On 3/22/2019 at 10:05 AM, Avossos said:

 

I have been designing landscapes for 3 years and have not once used St. Augustine. There is so many better options.

Can you name a few alternate grasses to use in high traffic (two large dog) areas? I’m not a big fan of St. Augustine grass. The trees I prefer are pines. 

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2 hours ago, NenaE said:

Can you name a few alternate grasses to use in high traffic (two large dog) areas? I’m not a big fan of St. Augustine grass. The trees I prefer are pines. 

 

Zoysia is good, but constant high traffic that doesn’t give the area some breather would be tough for any grass.

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On 6/2/2019 at 2:02 PM, Avossos said:

 

Zoysia is good, but constant high traffic that doesn’t give the area some breather would be tough for any grass.

Thanks for the tip. I would probably use some gravel and stepping stones, as well. I’ll have to research the grasses of Texas. 

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