Well, with the full moon now in the sky I had the blessings of my gardner to go ahead and cut my Australian Pine (also known as Casuarina Euisetifolia) hedge back.
When we were first building our home I had access to very young Australian Pines which are used in Florida as a wind break. The sound of the wind blowing through these drooping pine trees is a special sound on tropical beaches. They are hardy, grow fast and can be easily shaped. Plus, when they are cut back they do not seem to go into any ‘shock” and start their re-growing immediately!
Despite their appearances, this tree is neither a pine nor a gymnosperm, but an angiosperm in which the leaves have been reduced to scales (an adoption to dryness). The green branches look like needles and the fruit something like a woody cone.
My gardner and I pulled up 40-45 of the young trees, brought them to our property and planted them along the fence line on the northeast side of our property. Years later I had a hedge of 12 foot trees which served as a really nice wind break for my flowering plants in our front yard.
However, since these trees were kept trimmed at a 12’ height, it was getting more and more difficult for my gardener to trim them about every 3rd month. He has to use a very tall ladder and cut first from one side of the tree and then go around to the back side to cut again. He uses a machete and the action of swinging the machete proved very difficult for him.
I decided that the hedge would look just as good at a 6’ level and told my husband that during the rainy season I would like to trim the hedge down. Well, our new chainsaw has not been cooperating and for the past few months we have been waiting for a special tool to adjust the gas in-take level (or some such thing). Since the rains are cutting back now, I began to worry that we would pass our window of opportunity and spoke to my husband.
My husband talked to a good friend (who has a chain saw) and he offered to come down Tuesday this past week and trim the trees by one-half. We picked him up on Tuesday morning and before noon we had taken him home again - job done!
The hedge has always been a beautiful thing and to now see all the bare trees is a little painful, but they will come back very quickly. The down side (there is always a down side in Honduras) is that our neighbor on the undeveloped property next to us is paranoid about his trees and anything on his property. A while back we tried to contact him to ask his permission to cut a 10’ firebreak between our properties on his side of the fence since our land is always clear and kept clean of brush. We could not find him after a diligent search and so, my husband, in his infinite wisdom, said it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission!
We cut the firebreak, trimming all the undergrowth and small bushes and weeds leaving small trees unharmed. Well, the neighbor came down to check out his property (he does this every once in a while) and was upset for some reason with the firebreak. Why, we do not understand as it provided an easier way for him to get to his huge mango trees and collect the fruit during the season. Instead of talking to us which, for some strange reason Hondurans never do (they prefer to go “to the judge” and have him settle the problem), he spoke to our gardner telling him to tell us that he did not want us cutting on his property.
Several months later he returned and spray-painted many of his trees and “shack” on the beach with huge read letters which spelled out his name! With my hedge now trimmed back, this garish signage is quite visible!
So, now I just sit back and wait for my beautiful hedge to return to its former beauty!