turning trees into concrete

There has been a ongoing debate for many years now about exotic invasive species (plants that are not native). Some say they don’t belong and should be eradicated and others say we’ve screwed up things so badly here on planet Earth that these plants deserve to stay since they contribute greatly to wildlife and “repair” more rapidly, the screwing-up that we’ve done, often more quickly than our native species do (NOT!).

I happen to be a purist in this department, seeing how a handful of invasives in this region of the South so monoculturishly wipe-away biodiversity. I say we fight the worst of them like its World War III since our existence here depends on insects and insects need plant biodiversity to exist. Proof of this can be found in the research work done by folks like insect whisperer Dr. Douglas Tallamy, Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware, who has scientifically compared wild landscapes to invaded, foreign-genetic landscapes and has found solidly that non-natives support much less biodiversity than native plant communities and native plant gardens. He says that most of what baby bird are fed are insects/ insect larvae. Read Tallamy’s book Bringing Nature Home. It will open your eyes to the importance of biodiversity, specifically insect biodiversity.

The statistics that he provides are overwhelming. The proof is in the pudding.

On that note I will mention a potentially wonderful development with regard to eradication exotic-invasive trees, one that might help us all: insects, critters, and humans.

There’s a company in Belgium that has learned how to turn the shredded chips of invasive trees into petrified wood by using chemicals. This seems to me to be a bright light of hope for the future when it comes to woody invasives. Turning lemons into lemonade.

I know nothing about the specifics (or the generalities) of this chemical process but I do know how difficult it is to deal with trees such as Chinese Tallow, Chinese Privet and White Mulberry in large acreage of natural meadow.

I visited the architecture department a yet un-named University (its top-secret Trademark stuff) in the U.S. this past weekend and saw some prototypes using the material. Its pretty cool stuff, ya’ll! I want a wood-crete bench made from Tallow and Mulberry for my garden! It would be so satisfying sitting on a petrified tallow tree. Seems like the ultimate revenge to me. Check out these cool stools that the staff and students constructed recently. The students are currently holding design studios with student projects suggesting construction ideas for uses and practices for this w-i-ld and c-a-razy stuff.


click on photos to enlarge them

The University shall remain un-named till the lawyers get out of the way




This one has a carved out “seat” to fit your butt when you sit.


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