Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Vine of Doom

Recently, I have been doing a lot of gardening. At some point in the last few weeks I realized that several plants in our yard (most notably, a camellia tree, and Ent, our huge water oak) had been overtaken by some sort of parasitic vine. I decided that the only appropriate response to this threat was to remove the vine from both plants. This involved peeling the vine away from the trunk, and pulling on it hard, to try and get as many feet as possible off the tree. Once I had pulled the vines to the ground, I would cut the vine off, hoping to maim or kill the thing. This was a dirty, labor intensive process, but was very successful, at least on the camellia tree. Buoyed by my ability to free the camellia, I decided to take on the larger vines on Ent. This however, was a more difficult undertaking than it first appeared. First, the vine was way thicker on Ent than on the camellia, and way more entrenched. I spent hours pulling 3 inch diameter vines from the tree and then pulling them out of the soil using my whole body weight to do so. The vine actually resembled a snake, with thicker aerial parts and thinner roots that looked like a tail. At some point during this wrestling match when I was digging out a 5 inch diameter tuber, I found myself saying out loud "where I come from, vines are not capable of killing a person!". It was just another valuable lesson in what happens to vegetation when you live in a tropical climate, which is akin to what happens if you live near a nuclear power plant in a 1950's sci-fi movie.

The vine looked a whole lot like this Anaconda,
courtesy of the Oregon Reptile Man.



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