Se­crets to choos­ing a tree

Cel­e­brate Na­tional Ar­bor Day by go­ing in­dige­nous and wa­ter-wise and re­duc­ing your car­bon foot­print

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODGARDENING -

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.

PIC­TURE: LUKAS OTTO

PLANT ME: Idols win­ner Ja­son Hartman planted a mon­key thorn tree ( the na­tional Plant Me In­stead cam­paign.

to cel­e­brate Na­tional Ar­bor Week and

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