Secrets to choosing a tree
Celebrate National Arbor Day by going indigenous and water-wise and reducing your carbon footprint
THIS week, 2009 Idols winner and passionate plantsman Jason Hartman planted a monkey thorn tree ( Acacia galpinii) to celebrate National Arbor Week and the national Plant Me Instead campaign, which celebrates the planting of good, waterwise plants as opposed to bad, illegal invasive alien plants. Hartman was also able to publicise his Planting Season campaign to encourage gardeners to get planting this spring (www.jasonsgarden.co.za).
Plan on planting a tree in a small garden during Arbor Week? The secret to choosing a tree for a smaller property is to make sure you know all its characteristics before buying it. Find out the eventual height of the tree and the spread of its leaf canopy. Make sure it does not have intrusive roots and will not grow too large so it intrudes over the neighbour’s yard or crowds out your small garden.
If your garden is very small, it choose a deciduous tree that will lose its leaves in winter, thus allowing your home to receive muchneeded winter sun for warmth in the colder months. A small evergreen tree might be ideal for providing privacy for your garden from neighbouring upstairs windows. In small gardens, it is a good idea to prune the lower branches of trees as they grow to allow more light into the garden or house.
If you have a small garden, consider planting one of these trees: wild laburnum ( Calpurnea aurea), silver tree ( Leucodendrom argenteum), karee ( Rhus lancea), river karee ( Rhus pendulina), tree wisteria ( Bolusanthus speciosus), lavender tree ( Heteropyxis natalensis), wild gardenia ( Gardenia thunbergia), pompon tree ( Dais cotinifolia), leopard tree ( Caesalpinea ferrea) or Henkel’s yellowwood ( Podocarpus henkelii). Carbon busters Trees play a vital role in reducing your carbon footprint. How do they do this? Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and through the process of photosynthesis, the carbon is converted into carbohydrates for the tree’s growth, and the oxygen is released back into the atmosphere. Studies have shown that over a period of about 15 years, about 500kg of carbon is “stored” in a tree. Life is a garden planted up with eco-friendly trees, so make your contribution to greening your environment this spring and plant a tree. Water Affairs and Forestry since 1975, were incorporated into Arbor Day festivities. Trees of the Year Planting a tree this year? Choose one of the three indigenous Trees of the Year for 2009:
Monkey thor n ( Acacia galpinii). This fast-growing deciduous acacia can reach a height of 20m with a 20m spread, so plant it in large gardens or parks or along roads where there is enough space.
Tree fuchsia ( Halleria lucida). This 4m tall evergreen tree is an essential in the garden of all bird lovers as it attracts both nectar and fruit-eating birds. It flowers from May to December, with tubular clusters appearing on shoots from old wood. The blooms are brick-red to yellow.
Round-leaved teak ( Pterocarpus rotundifolius). This deciduous tree grows about 8m tall and has a slender upright growth habit, making it an attractive tree in gardens. Deep yellow, pea-shaped flowers appear from September to January. The larvae of the bushveld charaxes butterfly thrive on its leaves. Water regularly.
PLANT ME: Idols winner Jason Hartman planted a monkey thorn tree ( the national Plant Me Instead campaign.
to celebrate National Arbor Week and