In celebration of Arbor Month, the City of Cape Town will be planting over 200 trees and 2000 spekboom, targeting communities where there is both a need for greener spaces and a shared commitment to care for the environment.
The Tree of the Year, Cape Ash, will be planted in various areas throughout the metropole.
September falls towards the end of Cape Town’s rainy season. Cape Town has a unique climate where specific species of trees grow. Traditionally, tree planting is best throughout the winter months.
This year, the City will mark the end of a successful planting season with the planting of numerous trees, including the Common Tree of the Year, Cape Ash (Ekebergia Capensis) which is indigenous to the Western Cape and is grown in the City’s Nursery. The Cape Ash trees will be planted in locations nominated by different community interest groups and residents via their ward councillors.
The Cape Ash tree is an evergreen fruit bearing tree, which can grow up to 15m high. Its trunk and stems are greyish black, with large, glossy green leaves often with pink edges. On occasion, the tree shows its beautiful white, scented flowers in summer along with seeded red fruit enjoyed by birds and small animals. Historically, the Cape Ash was used as a decorative street tree, offering good shade and some resistance to drought conditions. This tree and others can be grown from seeds or cuttings.
‘It is important that we recognise the role that trees play in our lives. Trees not only provide oxygen, fruit and nuts but also extract carbon monoxide and beautify the environment and are an important link in the ecosystem. It is remarkable how a bland landscape can be immediately transformed into an inviting outdoor play area, and so many of us enjoy the beauty of leaves, shade and colour as seasons change. Learning how to preserve nature’s gifts and care for the environment is something we can all contribute to and enjoy by planting more trees and being mindful that bark stripping and littering prevents them from flourishing,’ said Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee member for Community services and Health.
The Recreation and Parks department will be publishing a calendar of planting activities every week during Arbor month. To get involved, visit their website to find out if planting is happening in your area or take a selfie with a newly planted tree and tag the city in support of Arbor month #arbormonth.
- The City has developed a Best Practice Guideline for Trees for property owners, officials, developers, architects, planners and residents on how to protect, enhance and manage our trees. This guideline is now available online.
‘It is wonderful to be part of such a great initiative during these challenging times. Let us not forget what important role trees and nature play in our lives. By planting a tree, we can motivate each other in caring for the environment. Planting a tree is an investment in a green environment, which we all are responsible to care for,’ said Councillor Badroodien.
The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department recently completed a tree mapping project which is a first in South Africa. The pilot project started in June last year and will provide extensive data on all trees within the city.