City takes on Spekboom Challenge

The City is encouraging residents to take pictures of their newly-planted spekboom trees and post it on social media.

The City’s recreation and parks department is taking part in the Spekboom Challenge with its Newlands nursery growing 5 000 spekboom trees to be distributed for planting during Climate Change Month in April.

The purpose of this initiative is to increase awareness about the importance of trees in the urban environment. Also known as the pork bush or elephant’s food, the spekboom (Portulacaria afra) has the ability to absorb more carbon dioxide than any other plant.

The Spekboom Challenge is a social media drive, motivating all South Africans to each plant at least 10 of the trees this year.

“The spekboom shoots will be planted at events across the city on World Earth Day on April 22. We hope this will encourage residents to also get involved in tree planting and maintenance,” said the mayoral committee member for community services and health, Zahid Badroodien.

Apart from being a strong grower and a water-wise plant, a spekboom can live up to 200 years and has the ability to adapt to environmental changes. It can be planted to beautify a garden or open space, or act as windbreaks when planted in a lane.

The City’s Newlands nursery will be open to the public on Wednesday February 26, from 10am until noon.

Visitors will have the opportunity to join a tour of the nursery where the trees and plants that beautify Cape Town are grown.

Demonstrations will be given on how to grow your own spekboom and staff will share information about the species best suited to Cape Town’s climate.

The Newlands nursery provides the City with large trees and vegetative material for greening. They are also responsible for ensuring that tree stock and different types of species are available, as determined by a five-year tree plan.

Visitors will be able to see the water-wise species introduced during the drought which are now part of the City’s stock, such as aloes, other succulents and groundcovers.

A bonsai allotment garden can be visited on request.

Thenurseryhas approximately 40 000 plants in stock to the value of R10 million.

In addition to growing and greening, the nursery also provides decor for special events such as the Cape Town Jazz Festival, Suidoosterfees, Switching on of the Festive Lights and mayoral events.

“I encourage residents to participate in the Spekboom Challenge. It’s an opportunity for learners, schools, community groups and educational groups to be part of a great initiative. By planting a spekboom you investment in a clean environment, and participate in conserving and protecting nature in an urban context. Let us all do our part and plant a Spekboom,” said Dr Badroodien.

The City’s Recreation and Parks Department encourages everyone to join the challenge. Share a photo of your newly planted spekboom on social media with the tag #Spekboomchallenge.