Dominican Living Fences

One of the most interesting features of the Dominican countryside is the living fence. Fence posts are made using sticks cut from the branches of the Piñon tree, also known outside of the country as Madre de Cacao (Cocoa Mother). The scientific name is Gliricidia sepium.

Bare sticks from this tree will root when placed in the ground and sprout and grow into a tree. So what would normally just be a barb wire fence with posts becomes a line of trees with barb wire between them. These living fences line roads all over the country providing shade and beauty while serving as fences for the property owners.

Madre de Cacao derives its name from its use as a shade tree for Cocoa trees (the source of chocolate) and Coffee trees, which require shade to flourish. It’s an unusual tree because a branch can just be cut off and stuck in the ground and it will root and grow into a tree. In Jamaica this tree is known as the quick stick because it’s so easy to propagate.

In the Dominican Republic, in addition to it’s use as a fence, it is also used for medicinal purposes and as a source of firewood as the tree can be chopped back to a post and will regrow.

These trees are especially lovely when they are blooming as they produce many small white and pink flowers which fall along the fenceline providing a splash of color. Dominican living fences are a green idea which other countries should adopt as this tree grows well in all tropical areas. Dominican living fences are a very positive benefit to the environment and an inexpensive fencing solution.

As you take a drive through the countryside, enjoy the shade and beauty provided by the Dominican living fence and gain an appreciation for the ingenuity of the Dominican farmer.

Categories : Dominicana

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