15 As far back as pre-Columbian times, the Gumbo-limbo tree's chunky branches were a favored choice for fence posts. When any size branch is cut, its resins seal the wound, enabling it to live a year or so out of the ground. When planted, it will root within a year and grow into a new tree. So those pre-Columbian fence posts inevitably sprouted. They topped the heads with machetes yielding firewood, but allowed them to spread some to provide shade for the herd. But the greatest benefit was that as a living fence, the posts were immune to termite attacks. Some of the fences spaced the living posts with

ropes or rails stretched between. In others, the posts were close enougn to interweave the branches. That is the type we installed in 2004 to hide an unsightly utility area behind the Historical Museum. Just 2 years old here, it is not so different from a hedge. But the branches of this tree grow to a huge diameter, though these probably will not since the trees will be kept small in stature. But they will eventually grow to be quite thick, and it is anticipated that the the resulting grillework of merging and overlapping branches will do more of the hiding than the foliage does now.

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