Reclaiming concrete

It’s often fun to observe how reclamation begins. If we disappeared tomorrow, how long before nature would take back our buildings and streets?

A patch of concrete at one of my survey sites is being traversed and transformed by spiked tendrils of bramble – use of this area ceased only four months ago and already the vegetation is reaching out from the margins to take it back.

Bramble (Rubus fruticosus) tendrils extending over concrete

This is just the first step, but the stems will created conditions where organic debris can accumulate. Mosses too will carpet the rough surface and this will create a substrate allowing seedlings to grow and seed and die and decay and add further to the organic humus to allow bigger weeds still. Meanwhile the bramble, rooted in the peripheral fertility, will build and bulge and dome like an overarching tent above it all. I suspect in a few short years, this concrete would be lost beneath a swathe of green.

Bramble (Rubus fruticosus) tendrils extending over concrete

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