Tree planting – let’s get involved

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Every year South Africa together with many other countries worldwide celebrate Arbor or Tree Planting Day. Arbor Day originated in the picturesque city of Brugg, Switzerland, in the 15th century being used to raise awareness about the importance of trees within the community. But it was J. Sterling Morton, in the then treeless plains of Nebraska (USA) in 1872, who persuaded the local agricultural board to set aside a day for planting trees. He created a celebration out of Arbor Day where the people planted one million trees leading it to be recognised as national event. South Africa began the tradition in 1983 and extended it in 1997 to become National Arbor Week. Primary objectives for establishing this awareness is to generate a better understanding of, particularly, indigenous trees and to highlight the important role trees play in sustainable development and the livelihoods of people and their environment whilst encouraging communities to participate in various greening activities. We are the community and everyone of us who has ever enjoyed the shade a tree provides in summer, marvelled at the beauty of a piece of wood, appreciated the fact that trees give homes to birds or have sat around a wood fuelled braai or fire – we are the ones who should be ardent about planting trees each year. If you feel that your garden has enough trees then plant shrubs or flowers, but please plant. It’s not just trees, its green leaves the world needs – then you’ll be doing your bit to add to the earths green lungs. Sometimes the trees selected for Arbor day are not really suited to the Free State’s climatic conditions but don’t let that put you off, plant some other trees such as:

Acacia or more correctly Senegalia karoo (soetdoring)
Buddleja saligna (vals olyf) false olive
Celtis afrikaner, witstinkhout
Dais cotonifolia (Pompom tree)
Combreytum
erythrophyllum (vaderlandswilge)
Dodonea angustifolia
Halleria lucida (ouhout)
Ilex Mitis (African holly)
Olea afrikaner, olienhout

This article was adapted
by Sharon Walker.