City of Cape Town sport facilities are first on the list for going green, after the City’s Recreation and Parks Department launched a special Large Tree Planting Project leading up to Arbor month in September 2019, after the nursery in Newlands 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 City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health Zahid Badroodien says the upside of this is that the tree stock in the nursery increased and over time the trees in the controlled environment 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.”
Six hundred large trees, valued at approximately R1,2 million are being planted over a six month period. This will create jobs for an additional 10 Expanded Public Works Programme workers, who will undergo specialised training and development.
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.”
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 ‘recovery’ restrictions (read more about level 3b water ‘recovery’ restrictions on http://www.capetown.gov.za/thinkwater)