City’s Newlands nursery resumes tree planting

South Africa - Cape Town - 7 April 2019 - According to Wikipedia: "Newlands Forest is a conservancy area on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, beside the suburb of Newlands, Cape Town. It is owned and maintained by the Table Mountain National Parks Board, along with the City Parks Department of Cape Town, and includes a Fire Station, Nursery and Reservoir." Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

The City of Cape Town’s nursery in Newlands has resumed tree planting for the first time since 2016.

In recent years, the horticultural sector was hamstrung by the severe drought and the accompanying water restrictions. This included a prohibition on irrigation of trees, resulting in a drastic reduction in the number of trees the department was able to plant.

The upside of this, according to mayoral committee member for community services and health Zahid Badroodien, is that the tree stock in the nursery increased and the trees grew bigger and taller.

“The nursery was able to sustain the plants through borehole water. These trees are now the ideal planting stock as the more established a tree is when planted, the greater its chances of survival in the natural environment.

Larger trees also have an immediate visual impact when planted in an area without trees, displaying their ability
to transform any landscape overnight,” said Dr Badroodien.

Six hundred large trees, valued at about R1.2 million are being planted over a six month period, and, according to Dr Badroodien, this will create jobs for 10 Expanded Public Works Programme workers.

Both indigenous and non-invasive exotic trees will be planted across the city at sports fields with alternative water sources available for irrigation.

Sports fields were selected as the primary target, due to the positive change newly planted trees can make to the appearance of many fields that are still in recovery.

Planting at the Southfield sports field started a few weeks ago.

“We celebrate the department being able to plant trees again. The value of trees cannot be underestimated, as it offers a myriad of social and environmental benefits.

“The City therefore calls on all residents to help preserve these precious assets, and to
support tree planting while remaining mindful of our limited water resources,” said Mr Badroodien.

The recreation and parks department encourages the public to get involved in taking care of newly planted trees by following these smart watering guidelines:

Deep watering. Deep watering prevents weak surface roots from forming and encourages the growth of robust roots underground.

Check soil moisture. Soil should be moist but not wet.

Conserve water while preserving trees. Make provision for watering trees during water restrictions, by conserving water in other areas of your home and garden.

Watch out for signs of drought stress. Check for leaves wilting, yellowing, curling or browning at the edges.

Use mulch to help conserve moisture. Cover the soil with a 3- to 5-inch layer of mulch.

Use safe pesticides. Stick to organic, environmentally friendly pesticides.

Be mindful of our water-scarce region.

We are currently on level 3b water restrictions.

Visit http://www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater to find out more about them.