Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Don't Imprison the Roots! Don't!

Dr Abe V Rotor

Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Cemented trunk of mahogany, Quezon Monument, Elliptical Circle, QC

 Prop roots of rubber tree, UST

 A clump of Cyperus, UP Diliman.    Pasture between coconut trees, Virac, Catanduanes

 Prop roots of Pandan, TechnoHub, Diliman, QC
 Single flower of pongapong (Amorphophallus campanulatus) emerging from the ground;  carpet of algae and mosses - natural fertilizer (UST Botanical Garden)
 Termites break down wood into humus. (Right) Looking for symbionts of a narra tree (UPLB Laguna): tree frog and millipede (below);

Give trunk adequate space. The roots need air, they need space to grow and search for food and establish anchor.

 Eucalyptus soars to sky, trunk cemented like post.
 The right way to take care of trees is to give adequate space around the trunk, at least one to two meters radius. The best way however is not to cement the surroundings at all.  Let nature do her work in maintaining dynamic balance (homeostasis). 

Don't Imprison the Roots, Don't!
12 Reasons

1. The roots will be stunted, so with the tree itself, its branches do not develop well, and few flowers and fruits will form - if at all - because there is not enough nourishment.  The tree cannot get enough sunlight exposure necessary for photosynthesis; as a consequence the tree remains stunted, and is likely to die prematurely.

2. The roots will be deprived of oxygen and will die without our awareness, so with the corresponding branches, because for every branch there is a counterpart main root below it. When the roots are starved their corresponding branches will starve too, which explains the differential development of branches, and that, not all branches bear fruits. 

3. The roots will fail to provide anchor strong enough to keep the tree upright and strong, and resist wind and flood, injury and erosion.  Efficient anchorage depends largely on large secondary roots and numerous tertiary roots, to reinforce the primary root, thus forming an extensive root system, the mass of which approximates that above the ground composed of the trunk, limbs, branches and stems. 

4. The roots will fail to absorb water for its present and future use (so with the surrounding plants) coming from rain, dewdrops and other sources, including capillary water (water that rises from the bottom to the top soil) and as a consequence the tree easily succumbs to tight water regime, more so, to El Niño, a cyclical phenomenon of extreme drought that occurs every 7 to 10 years .

5. The roots will be deprived of providing symbiotic conditions with nitrogen-fixing microorganisms principally the bacteria Rhizobium and  Nitrosomonas, and a host of fungi led by Mychorriza that convert free, inert Nitrogen into usable forms - Nitrates - the universal food of plants, without it the earth would be a plant-less, and most likely, a dead  planet. 

6. The roots will not be able to provide conditions to attract the earthworm and nematode, termite and cricket, snail and slug, beetle and cicada, arachnids and crustaceans, reptiles, rodents, goats, ground fowls, and many other animals that find shelter and food, giving in return symbiotic favors of protection and nourishment, and the beneficial interrelationship of biodiversity through the food chain and web, and the biological flow of energy.

7. The roots will fail to form shoots that form secondary crowns to augment photosynthesis, to provide propagules or planting materials -  and even develop into new trees, replacing the mother tree in the event of its death due to senility or fatal injury, a phenomenon that makes trees among the oldest living creatures  on earth, such as the redwood, and the bristlecone. 

8. The roots will not develop into specialized roots such as the massive brace roots that grow to several feet in height and length, and produce a deep gong sound when struck with the horns of animals, which is a means of communication to attract mates or warn of danger.

9. The roots will not freely produce prop roots, in the case of the banyan tree and the balete, emanating from the limbs and branches and dropping to the ground as natural posts, so massive after many years, in fact centuries, that these prop roots shall then have walked far and wide from the main trunk.  The interconnecting prop roots and branches are welded by inarching to form natural arches, walls, and chambers. The famed living temples of worship in India and other parts of tropical Asia are housed under living old banyan trees.   

10. The roots would not produce underground fruits like the nangka or jackfruit that draw curiosity and awe; would fail to develop the protruding breathing roots or pneumatophores of mangrove; would suppress the development of extensive prop roots of pandan that enable this plant to resist the fury of nature.  

11.  The roots will fail to produce stored food in the form of tubers (Irish potato), enlarged roots (cassava, ube, tugui, yam), and nuts (peanuts), prevent the production of runners and stolons (gabi, talahib, cogon), nature’s tools with which these plants and their kin reproduce vegetatively, resist drought by becoming dormant, colonize new areas, and compete with other species.   

12. The roots will not develop into an encompassing zone for playground and recreation  -  cool, comfortable and shady, where playing children develop natural immunity, old people find respite in hammocks and easy chairs, a promenade, a lecture-demonstration area.  The bare earth and lawn exude freshness, warmth in cool months, and coolness in summer, and dust is trapped by  moist soil.  The ground is one huge canvas to write and draw with stick, and where the earth is dry and compact, serves to thresh palay and mungo, shell corn and prepare other goods for the market, a place for loading and unloading. Or, where one simply stops to rest on his way to work – or back home.~  

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