Monday, February 16, 2009

February 2009 - Come see TreeCo at the Cape Green Trade Day!

Rudi and Leske would like to invite all of you to come and visit us at the Cape Green Trade Day, to be held at the Cape Indoor Riding Centre in Joostenberg Vlakte on the 18th February. If you need directions to the venue, please call Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. See you there!

Kiggelaria africana (Wild Peach)

This month, we feature a firm favourite – the Kiggelaria Africana, or Wild Peach. This indigenous tree makes a fantastic shade tree and is a favourite for attracting birds to the garden.


Botanical Name: Kiggelaria africana L.
Common Name: Wild Peach
Genus: Flacourtiaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 494


The K.africana is low branching, so new branches should be trimmed in order to train the tree into developing a good canopy. As one of the best trees to plant in a garden where one intends attracting lots of birds, the K.africana reliably attracts a diverse multitude of birds. The Wild Peach is reasonably frost hardy, prefers a position in full sun and a moderate amount of water in order for it to grow at an optimum rate (approximately 1m per year).


Height: 10-13m in height.
Spread: 13m wide
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Habit: Occurs in forested areas such as kloofs, as well as mountainous grasslands and is frequently found in amongst rocks.
Bark: The bark is pale gray and smooth. As the bark ages it begins to darken and flake.
Foliage: The leaves are oblong to elliptic and are 3.5 – 9 x 2-5cm in size.
Flowers: The flowers are pale yellow to greenish white in colour and are about 10mm in diameter. Male and female flowers can be found on separate trees and bloom from August to January.
Fruit: Round capsules which are yellowish green in colour and 1-2cm in diameter, appear in February to July.
Seed: The capsules split open into 5 valves to reveal the seeds (black and smooth) which are completely coated in a red, sticky coating.


Growing regions: K.africana is found from Kenya in the North to the Western Cape of South Africa.
Growing conditions: K.africana enjoys a sunny position and a moderate amount of water. Always mix a good amount of compost into the soil when planting and mulch the surface of the soil.
Best season: Spring - Autumn
Hardiness: The K.africana can tolerate frost and survives in temperatures ranging from 2 – 36 degrees centigrade.
Propagation: The Wild Peach can be propagated from seed or cuttings.
Growth rate: Under optimal conditions, the Wild Peach will grow at a rate of approximately 1m per year.


The wood of the K.africana is a good general purpose timber. It was once used to make the spokes of wagon-wheels. This tree attracts an array of birds and is considered one of the best trees to plant in a garden where wild birds are welcomed. This tree also attracts a particular caterpillar that will strip the tree of its foliage and as part of a natural cycle; this process assists the tree to send out new leaves.

February 2009 - The Pearl Valley Critique

TreeCo has had the pleasure of providing trees to Pearl Valley for use within private residences, as well as communal areas within the estate.

Two key individuals from the landscaping team at Pearl Valley have had this to say about TreeCo and the trees that we have supplied to them over the last 3 years:-

We are very pleased with the quality of trees and the impressive, professional service that we have received from TreeCo. Their specimens exhibit strong, thick trunks and good heights for their bag size and Rudi is well known for never allowing trees to leave the nursery with which he is not 100% satisfied. The specimens they offer are always unique – if we are looking for trees that look natural or with a little character – then TreeCo is the place we know we will find them. We recently purchased a large order of trees from TreeCo to be utilised within one of our most recent parks at Pearl Valley. We were very impressed with the fact that our trees were delivered on time and swiftly planted exactly how we wanted them in their designated spots by Rudi and his team – without our supervision. What we have found as almost more impressive is the fact that over a month later - none of the trees had gone off at all. This bears testament to the quality and resilience of TreeCo trees. There is no doubt that we will be utilising the services of TreeCo in the future for large projects that have been planned – we know we can trust TreeCo to deliver what we want when we need and at the right price!

Deon Weyers from Land-Art Environmental Solutions provides various horticultural services to individuals within the Pearl Valley estate. Both Rudi and Deon are amazed by the rate at which TreeCo trees, planted over a year and a half ago have flourished in this beautiful Pearl Valley residential garden.

Erythrina caffra (Coast coral-tree)

To kick off 2009, we focus on the incredibly striking and ever-popular Erythrina caffra. This spectacular tree is ideal for those who wish to enjoy the benefits of a sculptural, striking and colourful accent within the landscape during late winter and spring and who wish to enjoy cool, filtered shade in summer. The E.caffra is naturally found in sub-tropical surroundings, however as many of you already know – this tree is adaptable to drier conditions provided a thorough deep watering is given on a relatively regular basis. Some of the pictures used within our newsletter this month were taken last year when our E.caffra’s were in full flower – they look absolutely stunning so give us a call should you wish to place your order.


Botanical Name: Erythrina caffra Thunb.
Common Name: Coast Coral-tree
Genus: Papilionoideae (subfamily of Fabaceae)
RSA National Tree No’: 242


Erythrina caffra is the ideal tree to use within rock gardens or where a striking accent plant is required. The trees provide ideal filtered shade for a host of herbaceous and perennial shrubs. Shrubs that are particularly suited to planting with the E.caffra include the Plectranthus eckloni; Hypoestes aristata; Mackaya bella; Ochna serrulata; Burchellia bulbalina; Tetradinia ripariea and Strelitzia reginae. To obtain multiple colours using bulbs underneath these spectacular trees, good bulbous plants for mass planting include
Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. Katharinae, Crinum moorei, Clivia miniata, Dietes bicolor, Crocosmia aurea, Kniphofia praecox, and K.uvaria. Their roots are also substantial so if they are to be grown near sidewalks, driveways or foundations root barriers are a must.


Height: Medium sized tree that typically grows to 9-12m in height and which under favourable conditions will grow to 20m.
Spread: This species forms a round-headed, spreading canopy of around 4 – 8m.
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Growth Habit: Occurs naturally in coastal forest and riverine fringe forest.
Bark: The bark is grey with short sharp prickles that grow into larger thorns on older bark. As the branches age and grow these thorns wear off.
Foliage: The leaves are typically trifoliate (three leaflets), which are broadly ovate (egg-shaped) to elliptic (oval and narrowed to rounded ends, widest at or about the middle), the terminal leaflet being the largest.
Flowers: The flowers are spectacular and are usually orange to scarlet and occasionally cream in colour. The flowers are carried in large clusters at the ends of thick, fleshy stalks and blossom between August and September before the leaves sprout. The contrast between the striking flowers and grey bark, have a particularly sculptural, dramatic effect. The flower itself has a short, broad petal, the lower half of which curves upward to expose the stamens.
Fruit: Brown cylindrical pods which release red 'lucky' beans.
Seed: The pods split to release small, shiny, coral-red seeds which are marked on one side with a black spot. As the seeds mature they turn a rich red-brown. The seeds are popularly hollowed out and filled with tiny carved Elephants which are sold as curios in South Africa.


Growing regions: Erythrina caffra is classed as a subtropical tree which naturally occurs in the warm and frost-free to light frost coastal regions of the Eastern Cape and northern KwaZulu-Natal. The trees are found in various soil types from wet, well-drained, humus-rich soils to dry, clayey soils.
Growing conditions: Erythrina caffra should be planted in a sunny position. They will tolerate dry conditions and poor soils; however they do not respond well to excessively cold conditions. When used for commercial landscaping – E.caffra responds best to occasional deep watering and good drainage.
Best season: Spring - Autumn
Hardiness: Requires regular watering but can tolerate drought.
Propagation: The Coast Coral tree is easily cultivated from seeds and cuttings.
Growth rate: The Erythrina caffra trees grow very quickly and can develop a substantial trunk in just a couple of years.


The generic name Erythrina, originates from the Greek word erythros which means red and alludes to the bright red flowers and seeds. "Caffra" is derived from the Arabic word for an unbeliever and when used in older botanical works generally indicates that the plant was found well to the south of the range of Arab traders (primarily along the south-eastern seaboard of South Africa). Carl Thunberg, who is also known as the father of South African botany, gave the tree its name in 1770. All South African erythrinas are noticeable and well established in cultivation primarily for their striking flowers. The red seeds of the E.caffra are popular as the traditional ‘lucky bean’. Medicinally, the bark is laid on raw to treat arthritis and rheumatism, boiled to ease toothache, and burnt to heal open wounds. Crushed leaves are applied to festering sores, whilst an infusion from them relieves earache.

January 2009 - Welcome to 2009!

A very heartfelt, warm welcome back to all of you! We hope that you enjoyed a restful and enjoyable break over the festive season and that you have returned to work refreshed and rearing to make a success out of the challenges that we all will face in the year ahead.

Despite the dismal outlook that some analysts have forecast for our economy, TreeCo is confident that our Western Cape Green Industry will continue be successful particularly as a result of the necessary preparations for the 2010 soccer world cup which we are now nearing at an alarming rate! In-fact the Cape-Town Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry is certain that the economy of the Western Cape will outperform the National economy with an expected growth by up to 4% in 2009.

So the very best of luck to you all in 2009 – may your businesses grow and flourish and as ‘your big tree wholesale nursery’ we at TreeCo look forward to the opportunity of being a part of your success.

Podocarpus latifolius (Real yellowwood)

For December, it would only be right to feature a tree which is so versatile that it is able to easily contribute to our end of year festivities, as well as the garden or landscape thereafter. The ever-popular Podocarpus latifolius, considered the ‘Real Yellowwood’ is well known for its beautiful timber and is used most commonly today to craft valuable and highly sought after furniture. Although relatively slow growing, the Yellowwood adds immense, lasting value to a landscape.

Interestingly, in South Africa the yellow woods (Podocarpus) and the cedars (Widdringtonia) are representatives of the Pinophyta (conifers).

Our 100 litre stocks of Podocarpus latifolius are large and full for their bag size and are looking very healthy. Contact Rudi or Leske to find out more.


Botanical Name: Podocarpus latifolius (Thunb.) R.Br. ex Mirb.
Common Name: Broad-leaved Yellowwood / Real Yellowwood
Genus: Podocarpaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 18


The unusual textural appearance of the leaves makes the Podocarpus a good contrast or background for other trees. The colourful receptacles of the female tree are most attractive. This tree makes for an interesting container plant and can withstand short periods indoors. The leaf size and interesting bark are good characteristics which make these trees popular for bonsai. Notably Podocarpus grows best when planted in companion with other specific tree species, such as the Wild Olive or Keurboom and this is worth consideration when specifying this species for a landscape project.


Height: Grows to between 20 and 35m in height.
Spread: 3-10m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Habit: Grows naturally in mountainous areas and forests. It is also found on rocky hillsides and mountain slopes but does not grow as tall where it is exposed as it does in the foliar protection of forests.
Bark: The bark is yellowish brown - grey and smooth when young but flakes in narrow vertical strips when mature.
Foliage: The leaves on young trees are always larger than on mature trees. The new leaves are very noticeable as they form clusters of pale green or bronze at the ends of branches compared to the dark green of the older leaves. The
leaves are strap-shaped, 25–40 mm long on mature trees, up to 100 mm long on young trees and 6–12 mm broad with a bluntly pointed tip.
Flowers: The flowers are inconspicuous and are followed by green fleshy fruits.
Fruit: There are male and female trees. The male cones (July to September) resemble catkins (an inflorescence adapted for wind pollination found on the exotic Betula species for example) while the female tree develops round grey / blue seeds on thickened fleshy stalks known as receptacles which as they mature, turn purple (December to February).
Seed: 1 or sometimes 2 seeds mature on each receptacle. Seeds are large, fleshy and oval – 1-1.5cm maturing in December-February.


Growing regions: P. latifolius is native to the moister southern and eastern areas of
South Africa, from coastal areas of the Western Cape, east to KwaZulu-Natal and north to eastern Limpopo.
Growing conditions: Occurs as a tall straight tree in high temperate forests and as a low spreading tree or shrub on exposed rocky slopes and in open coastal bush.
Best season: Spring - Autumn
Hardiness: Requires regular watering and can tolerate light frost.
Propagation: Seed should be cleaned and sown fresh in a mix of sand and compost. Do not allow seeds to dry out or germination will be poor.
Growth rate: Very slow growing but long living.


The genus and species names are derived from Greek words, podo which means foot, carpus which means fruit, lati which means wide and folius which means leaf. The P. latifolius is the national tree of South Africa. Podocarpus yield a timber of a uniform pale yellow colour, which seasons and saws well, works easily and takes a good finish. Yellowwood has been used more than any other indigenous timber and most of the beautiful floors in the fine old Cape Dutch homesteads were made of this wood. The South African Railways used to use Yellowwood to make railway sleepers.

December 2008 - The Rise of Environmentalism in 2009

Consumers are becoming more and more aware of environmental issues and the role that they as individuals have to play in reducing the macro impact of their activities on the environment. Locally and internationally, economic pressures are also affecting how consumers spend their money and the combination of these factors is steadily setting a series of trends that the Green Industry has a direct relationship to.

Across all industries, organisations are being called upon to substantiate their claims to ‘green practices’ and it therefore goes without saying that eco-conscious practices including how organisations ‘green’ their environment will becoming increasingly significant while private individuals will be seeking ways of cutting costs in all aspects. Consumers at all levels will continue to support brands and services that assist to preserve the environment.

Green Industry role players act essentially as the gatekeepers to a wealth of knowledge that can assist consumers (corporate and private) to become effective in reducing their individual carbon-footprint. The Green Industry needs to share its knowledge, devise new and more innovative ways of doing things and ultimately offer services that are backed by genuinely eco-friendly principles in order to remain competitive in the emerging eco-friendly market.

The following set of trends will take precedent in 2009 and are based on the increase in consumer brand-affinity, changing lifestyles, economic pressures, as well as the rise in environmentalism.

1. Incorporating Edible Plants

In line with our obsession with healthy eating and living, incorporating edible plants within a landscape (both corporate and private) will become increasingly popular, also as private individuals look to save money.

2. Reducing the use of Pesticides

Thoughtful designs that incorporate companion planting principles to minimise attacks from ‘pests’ and therefore eradicate the use of harmful pesticides will become more and more in demand.

3. Creating Green Zones

As more corporates come to realise the value in creating restful, peaceful workspaces to maintain healthy workers and optimum work levels, the development of green zones through incorporating gardens within the office environment will become prevalent.

4. Interior Decorating – for the Outdoors

As consumers become increasingly aware of the aesthetic and tasteful appeal of their green areas, sophisticated design standards that incorporate a good balance between soft and hard landscaping will take preference.

5. Small Space Gardening

As townhouse complexes continue to proliferate new suburbs across South Africa, small space gardening that is tasteful and impactful will see more interest from consumers.

6. Low Maintenance Gardens

As the average consumer enjoys less free time, low maintenance gardens that are inexpensive and easy to maintain will become increasingly sought after.

7. Water-wise Gardens

Although in South Africa, water-wise gardens are already prevalent within corporate landscape projects, individual / private consumers will increasingly turn to true water-wise practices in a bid to save on costs and develop a low-maintenance garden.

TreeCo is dedicated to ensuring that our business activities have as little impact on our environment as possible. We do not use pesticides on our plants, nor do we utilise chemical fertilisers. Our trees are encouraged to grow naturally, thus ensuring a hardier, more resilient end product that is indeed more likely of surviving within a new landscape project. As a preferred supplier within your procurement plan, you can rest assured that TreeCo upholds the green policies that your organisation follows.

Dodonaea angustifolia (Sand olive)

For the month of November, we take a look at the deciduous Dodonaea angustifolia. This highly adaptable, evergreen tree can be used as a stunning stand-alone feature tree or shrub due to its annual profusion of pink coloured, winged fruits that resemble flowers and appear in late spring to early summer. Most notably, the D. angustifolia is a practical, highly effective ground stabilizer and beautiful boundary / hedging plant.

Our 50 litre stocks of Dodonaea angustifolia are large and full for their bag size and are looking very healthy with their current profusion of fruit. Contact Rudi or Leske to find out more.


Botanical Name: Dodonea angustifolia L.f
Common Name: Sand Olive
Genus: Sapindaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 437


The roots of the Sand Olive are soil binding and effective in reclaiming marshes - they are therefore an excellent choice for sand dune fixation and erosion control. Grown as an ornamental tree for its shiny foliage and decorative pink-red winged fruits, the Sand Olive lends itself well to decorative landscape gardening. Where boundary or barrier or support is required, D. angustifolia makes a good hedging plant, especially for dry areas.


Height: Usually 3-7m but can occasionally reach 10m
Spread: 3-5m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Habit: The sand olive is commonly found in scrub, as well as on mountains and in rocky soils.
Bark: Dark grey, fissured and peeling on the trunk and reddish brown on the branches.
Foliage: Leaves are simple lanceolate, pale green in colour and with pointed tips. Each leaf is 5-10 cm long and 5-8 mm wide. The leaves secrete a gummy exudate – resulting in the overall glossy appeal of the foliage.
Flowers: The flowers are inconspicuous and pale green.
Fruit: Appearing in late spring to early summer, the fruits themselves are pale green and surrounded by 3 membranous, papery wings which are coral pink to red in colour.
Seed: Seed is black, smooth.


Growing regions: The D. angustifolia is native to Australia, Ethiopia, Kenya, New Zealand, Oman, South Africa and Tanzania.
Growing conditions: D. angustifolia is a fast growing and hardy shrub. Little or no management is required once it is established. It regenerates rapidly after burning and prefers full to filtered sun.
Best season: Spring - Autumn
Hardiness: Frost hardy. Tolerates a fair amount of climatic and soil variation.
Propagation: Seedlings, wildings and direct sowing are used to propagate the Sand Olive. A pre-sowing treatment is not necessary. Seeds can be stored for up to one year with germination rates ranging between 30-70%.
Growth rate: 50cm per year


The Dodonaea was named after Rambert Dodoaens, a famous 16th century physician and author on plants. The fruits ‘hops’ can be fed to cattle and the flowers are ideal bee forage. The Sand Olive provides good quality charcoal and firewood. The wood is hard, termite resistant and heavy making it useful for implement handles. A root infusion is used as a remedy for the common cold in East and South Africa, while the leaves have anaesthetic properties and are chewed for their stimulating effect. Other medicinal uses include remedies for fever, sore throats, chest complaints, influenza, stomach disorders and cancer.

November 2008 - TreeCo Trees on Display at Canal Walk!

TreeCo was the proud sponsor of 55 of our best looking trees that were used in a magnificent display created by our valued client Ginkgo Landscaping at the Virtual Homes Show, which was hosted by SA Homeowner and held at Canal Walk from the 30th October to the 02nd November.

Our trees proved to be a hit with shoppers this year who visited the Ginkgo Landscaping display.

No photograph can really do justice to the impact that the sheer height and size our 200 litre trees had on this display, as they towered almost imposingly over the virtual home. Our 50 litre and 100 litre trees, which were positioned around the 200 litre trees on the numerous display islands around the virtual home, were indispensable in creating the forested look and feel that made this display so outstanding.

Each time we see our trees outside of our nursery - utilised in landscaping projects, as well as indoor displays such as this one, we realise just how valuable the instant impact an established tree has in any landscape.

We welcome you to drop in and visit us to see the incredible range of trees and the quality of the specimens we have in stock. We guarantee that whether you use just one tree for a private garden or numerous trees for a larger landscape project that your client will without a doubt, appreciate the instant appeal our big, beautiful trees have.

Combretum erythrophyllum (River bushwillow)

For the month of October, we discuss the deciduous Combretum erythrophyllum. This is an incredibly characterful tree that offers a wonderfully soft, willowy growth habit and an outstanding autumn display of yellow and red foliage. C.erythrophyllum stands out as an incredibly tolerant species, particularly to very cold, frosty conditions. As a fast grower that is easily propagated, this remarkable tree offers the landscaper a refreshing variation to the more commonly used Combretum caffrum.

Our 50 litre and 100 litre stocks of Combretum erythrophyllum are looking really lovely this spring so be sure to contact Rudi or Leske to find out more.


Botanical Name:
Combretum erythrophyllum (Burch.) Sond.
Common Name: River Bushwillow
Genus: Combretaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 536


Makes a wonderful avenue tree or a good natural windbreak. As a garden feature, preferably away from a swimming pool, this deciduous tree offers a stunning display in Autumn as its leaves turn from yellow to red.


Height: 5-12m
Spread: 9-10m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Growth Habit: C.erythrophyllum occurs naturally along river banks. It is distinguished by its multi-stemmed, low-branching and almost willowy growth habit with dense foliage and a spreading crown.
Bark: The pale brown older bark is characterised by its gentle flaking habit, which reveals pale grey, smooth younger wood. This results in a mottled appearance. Knob-like outgrowths appear on older specimens giving the tree a gnarled character.
Foliage: The leaves are oblong, elliptic in shape and range in size from 5 x 2cm to 10 x 5cm at maturity. Young leaves are yellow in colour, maturing to fresh green colour, with the oldest leaves turning a dull green. In April the leaves start to turn from yellow to red, providing a vibrant autumn display of colour. C.erythrophyllum is generally leafless for 2-3 months in winter.
Flowers: Flowers appear just after the first young leaves have sprouted (September to November). They resemble 1cm diameter puff-balls in shape and are coloured cream to pale yellow.
Fruit: Fruits are 4 winged and light greenish to brown-pinkish in colour. They are sized at 1-1.5cm in length. Young fruits dry to a pale honey-brown and remain on the tree until the next flowering season.
Seed: Seeds are situated within winged fruit capsules and are poisonous.


Growing regions: C.erythrophyllum occurs naturally in Kwa-zulu Natal, the former Transvaal and Eastern Cape.
Growing conditions:
· Good drainage and light soil
· Withstands heavy frost
· Water regularly during dry weather
· Full sun to semi-shade
Best season: Spring - Autumn
Hardiness: Frost hardy. Tolerates a fair amount of climatic and soil variation.
Propagation: Propagates easily from seed and cuttings.
Growth rate: Fast – tree can grow up to one meter per year if given good soil and sufficient water. Offers good shade after about 4 years.


Attracts a variety of butterflies and birds. The wood is highly versatile for carpentry as it is tough, easily worked and a pleasant yellow in colour. As a traditional medicine, the fruits are often used as a de-worming remedy, however it must be noted that the seeds are poisonous and cause severe hiccups.

October 2008 - Introducing Jan Geldenhuys

Rudi and Leske would like to take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to Jan Geldenhuys, our new Nursery Manager. Jan joined us on the 01st of September and he has already made a valuable, noticeable impact on the operations at TreeCo.

Jan will be responsible for managing all operations relating to the growing and maintenance of our trees, as well as ensuring the nursery stays neat and weed free. TreeCo is planning substantial growth in the near future to increase the range of trees we offer, as well as the sizes and quantities of each species available. During this expansion phase, Jan will be providing us with indispensable knowledge and resources due to his solid wholesale nursery management and sales background.

Jan’s love of plants was ignited at a very young age thanks to his voluntary involvement in his fathers palm tree nursery as a teenager. When Jan left high-school, he decided to pursue his passion for growing plants and began working at a prominent local wholesale nursery where he remained for 6 years, working his way up through the ranks and gaining solid knowledge and experience within wholesale and retail Nursery Management, as well as Sales.

Jan is looking forward to honing his knowledge of tree growing and gaining an in-depth understanding of the specialised market in which wholesale tree growers operate. He plans to attain his diploma within Horticulture within the next 2 years and is very excited about all the opportunities that are available to him at TreeCo which will allow him to develop his career further within the green industry.

Due to Jan’s already diverse plant knowledge, we welcome you to contact him should you have any specific tree or plant queries where you require clarification – we are always here to help you in any way that we can! Jan can be contacted on 072 736 9287.

Rhus lancea (karee)

For the month of September, we discover a highly versatile, practical tree that we recommend for various uses to landscapers and farmers alike. The drought resistant, low maintenance, evergreen Rhus lancea, with its soft willowy appeal and dense growth habit is the perfect tree to create gentle shade near a water-feature, or as an effective windbreak. At TreeCo, our 50 litre and 100 litre stocks of Rhus lancea are looking beautiful so be sure to contact Rudi or Leske to find out more.


Botanical Name: Rhus lancea L.f
Common Name: Karee
Genus: Anacardiaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 386


The R.lancea is an easy to grow, highly adaptable tree that can be very successfully used for smaller urban, as well as larger estate type landscapes. It provides good shade due to its dense, evergreen growth habit and is also therefore a good choice when wanting to create privacy, or a sound / wind barrier. Whether planted as a single feature tree or grouped, the R.lancea creates a lovely soft garden accent.


Height: 7-8m
Spread: 4-7m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Habit: Single stemmed, low branching with a dense, yet soft willowy canopy.
Bark: Older bark is course in texture and grey-dark brown in colour, while young branches are reddish brown in colour and smooth.
Foliage: 2.5cm-12cm in length x 0.5cm-1.2cm in width. Leaves are trifoliate with each leaf narrow and lance-like in shape. Leaves are leathery and olive-green in colour on top and yellowish underneath.
Flowers: Dense 9cm sprays of small, fairly inconspicuous, sweetly scented greenish-yellow flowers, appearing from June – September. Male and Female flowers occur on separate trees.
Fruit: Fruit appears from September - January and is approximately 5mm in diameter, round, slightly flattened and covered with a thin, fleshy skin that turns a yellow-brown colour when ripe.
Seed: 2-5mm long, smooth and pale brown.


Growing regions: Primarily arid regions from Zambia & Namibia in the north to the Western Cape in the South.
Growing conditions:
· Grows naturally along streams and river banks
· Moist, well drained soil (although this tree can tolerate poor soil conditions and drought)
· Tolerates frost
· Good air circulation / spacing around tree canopy
· Full sun to semi-shade
Best season: Late winter to mid summer
Hardiness: Frost hardy, superbly drought and wind-resistant, as well as tolerant to poor soil quality / drainage.
Propagation: Seed, cuttings or layering.
Growth rate: Fast – tree can grow to relative maturity within 5 years.


The sweetly scented flowers of the R.lancea attract bees and other insects while the fruit attracts birds such as the Bulbul, Guineafowl and Frankolin. The fruit can be pounded with water and left to ferment to make a good mead type beer. The hard wood of the R.lancea is also often used to make sturdy fencing posts and implement handles.

September 2008 - Cape Green Trade Day a Resounding Success

Although it hardly feels as though spring is just around the corner – thanks to the cold and wet weather we have experienced in August - spring is most definitely here. If any of you have travelled up the West Coast recently, you will notice that the flowers are starting to bloom beautifully and what a sight they are to behold! At TreeCo, our trees are also starting wake up from their long winter slumber and they are all looking truly beautiful. Don’t forget to download our Tree availability list and view the trees that we have on special this month!

The Cape Green Trade Day

The Cape Green Trade Day, held on the 20th of August in Joostenbergvlakte at the Cape Indoor Riding School, was a resounding success for TreeCo. The day provided us with an opportunity to rub shoulders with industry leaders and we felt indeed privileged to a part of this phenomenal event. It is always so important to be able to put faces to names and share information through personal contact and it was an absolute pleasure speaking to all of our existing clients who attended the event, as well as the many new clients who we met on the day.

For our new clients, this will be the first time you are receiving our newsletter and we would like to extend a very warm welcome to you – we hope that you will find this newsletter a useful and informative monthly read. If you have not already done so, please visit our website on to find out more about us. You are also welcome to download our Portfolio of Services by clicking on the link below.

Diospyros whyteana (Bladder nut)

For the month of August, we look ahead to the 2008 common tree of the year which will be celebrated during Arbor Week in the month of September, namely Diospyros whyteana.


Botanical Name: Diospyros whyteana (Hiern) F.White
Common Name: Bladder-nut, Swartbas
Genus: Ebenaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 611


The D.whyteana is a versatile little tree which has been cited as an ideal container tree to be used within small gardens as it creates an ideally neat accent plant. It responds exceptionally well to clipping and can therefore also be used as a hedging / screen plant and is ideal for bonsai growing.


Height: 5-7m
Spread: 2-3m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen

Growth Habit: Neat, multi-stemmed dense shrub / small tree with a straight trunk that branches low down to form a dense, round to pyramidal crown.
Bark: Smooth, grey to almost black. New branchlets appear as a green / pinkish colour and are densely covered with rust coloured hairs.
Foliage: 1-3cm long leaves which are glossy dark green on top and a paler green underneath.
Flowers: 5-10mm long, small white / cream to pale yellow and almost pendulous. Sweetly scented in spring.
Fruit: Fleshy berries which are borne throughout summer and turn red when ripe. Berries are enveloped by inflated bladder-like capsules which dry to a reddish / brown colour and can be found on the tree at almost any time of the year.
Seed: 2-5mm long, smooth and pale brown.


Growing regions: RSA coastline from Western Cape, to Lowveld & Highlveld regions and throughout Africa into Zimbabwe, as far as Ethiopia.
Growing conditions
· Thrives in moist areas where heavy frost does not occur
· Will tolerate mild winter drought
· Prefers moist soil and low nitrogen content fertilizer
· Check for fruit fly attacks, brown scale & sooty mould
· Semi-shade position
Best season: Late winter to mid summer
Hardiness: Hardy and wind-resistant
Propagation: Seed, budding and grafting
Growth Rate:
Fairly fast


D.whyteana attracts various fruit eating birds, including the Rameron pigeon, African green pigeon, Loerie, Barbet and Bulbul. The seeds were once used, ground and dried as a substitute for coffee and as a medicinal tree the D.whyteana has been used as an enema to treat impotency and barrenness.

August 2008 - TreeCo Launches Newsletter

Rudi and Leske Neethling are very excited about the launch of this, the very first edition of our monthly informative newsletter and we would like to take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to all of our readers.

Each month, you can expect to look forward to interesting news and information delivered conveniently to your inbox through our TreeCo News and Green Industry Trends, where we bring you the latest green industry news and trends, our TreeCo Tree Review which provides you with a thorough account of an indigenous tree species every month, as well as handy information regarding our updated available trees and tree specials through our Monthly Specials and Tree Availability List.

We hope that you find our newsletter interesting and informative and would sincerely welcome any feedback you may like to offer. Please email us on

Finally, Rudi & Leske invite you to give us a call and drop in for a visit at TreeCo – come and enjoy a cup of coffee with us and a stroll through the nursery. We guarantee that we are able to offer you more variety than you would expect.