Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ravaging Floods at TreeCo – the ultimate test of quality!

Recent rains brought what could have potentially been debilitating floods to the nursery at TreeCo. Although the lush lawn between the tree rows will take some time to recuperate, we are very happy to say that not only have we not lost a single tree, but they are all still looking as incredible as they always do!

Have a look at some of the images from the flood below. We will follow-up with more photos next month to show you how the nursery is recuperating.

Arbour Week has become Arbour Month – stock up on Acacia galpinii before September!

As of the 1st September 2009 National Arbour week has been extended to National Arbour month thanks to the lobbying by FTFA ( Food and Trees for Africa ) on behalf of communities, schools, companies and individuals who take a special interest in planting trees at this time. In South Africa, Arbour day was first introduced in 1983 to raise awareness and interest in growing trees, and, due to its enormous popularity, was extended to Arbour week in 1997 and now in 2009 - Arbour month. The idea for Arbour day originated in Nebraska and was introduced by J. Sterling Morton. When on moving to this area from Detroit, he became aware of the need for planting trees to hold the soil, create windbreaks, provide fuel and building material, as well as for shelter from summer’s heat. Eventually Arbour day gained popularity and is now celebrated by numerous countries worldwide.

In South Africa, many of Arbour month’s events are organised by FTFA and the Department of Water and Forestry with the aim of educating the population on the important role that trees play in our environment. Trees are the largest and longest living organisms on our planet and without them people could not survive. Trees supply the most basic elements of life such as water vapour, oxygen, food, fuel and shelter as well as providing an efficient way to offset the carbon emissions of our modern world, that are a major contributor to global warming. In order to restore our ecosystems and improve our urban and rural environment, it is imperative that we all plant as many trees as possible, thereby creating a healthier planet for all, now, and into the future.

Acacia galpinii is the 2009 tree of the year and is featured in this month’s TreeCo Tree Review.

Spectacular Monthly Tree - August 2009

The Podocarpus falcatus or common yellowwood is a handsome, tall growing evergreen tree, reaching a height of 60m in nature but fortunately remaining considerably smaller in urban cultivation. This is the famous “Big Tree” of the Knysna forest where this species is most commonly found. The leaves are arranged spirally, with parallel veins, smooth margins and sharply pointed leaf tips. The tree is sensitive to drought so should receive adequate amounts of water, it is however, quite frost hardy. The common yellowwood has an average growth rate and is an extremely worthwhile garden subject. The valuable timber was used for the topmasts and yards of ships and is still highly esteemed in boatbuilding.

At TreeCo we have a large stock-holding of the Podocarpus falcatus available and urge you to place your orders with us early to avoid disappointment!

Botanical Name: Podocarpus falcatus
Common Name: Common yellowwood
Size Available: 50kg
Quantity in Stock: 200
Average Tree Height: 2.2 – 2.5m
Average Trunk Thickness: 3 – 4cm

Should you require any further information, such as pricing details or should you wish to place an order, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at

Acacia galpinii – Monkey thorn

The Acacia galpinii is the largest of the South African Acacia species. The common name, Monkey thorn, is thought to refer to the tendency of monkeys to seek refuge in these thorny trees and their fondness of feeding on the pods. The Tswana name “Mongangatau” means “the one that catches like a lion” and is attributed to the thorns that tend to catch on clothing and skin. In its natural habitat, the Acacia galpinii is preferred by large animals such as Giraffe, Kudu and Elephant to provide shelter from the sun.


Botanical Name: Acacia galpinii
Common Name: Monkey thorn
Genus: Fabaceae
RSA National Tree No’: 166


This tall handsome tree with its luxuriant foliage and wide spreading branches makes a fine specimen in large gardens and parks. Planted on a lawn, it provides dappled shade in the heat of summer. The clusters of creamy yellow, honey scented flowers create a spectacular sight and attract insects, wasps and bees to the garden, whilst many bird species prefer nesting in the Monkey thorn as it offers protection from a variety of predators. When planted as an avenue along our roadsides this fine, hardy tree looks quite stunning and for those areas where a security hedge is required the Acaia galpinii provides an impenetrable barrier if kept trimmed down. Do not plant this tree too close to buildings as it has an extensive root system.


Height: 25 – 30m
Spread: 8 – 10m
Deciduous/Evergreen: Deciduous
Growth Habit: Acacia galpinii occurs in open wooded grassland and along rivers and streams.
Bark: The bark is pale, flaking and creamy yellow when young, becoming brown, rough, corky and longitudinally furrowed when mature.
Foliage: The leaves of the Monkey thorn are 5.5 – 11cm long with 9 – 14 pairs of pinnae which curve down from the rachis, each bearing 13 – 40 pairs of leaflets. There are short hooked thorns at the base of the leaves. Interestingly, the leaves fold at night.
Flowers: The creamy yellow, honey scented flowers resemble bottlebrushes and are borne in clusters from October to January.
Fruit: The reddish to purple – brown pods are up to 28cm long and 3,5cm wide, ripening between February and March.
Seed: There are approximately 8 – 15 seeds per pod which are released when the pods fall to the ground.


Growing regions: The Acacia galpinii is found in Zimbabwe, Eastern Botswana and in the North West Province and Northern Province of South Africa.
Growing conditions: The Monkey thorn prefers a sunny position. Plant in a large hole to which a generous amount of compost has been added and water regularly in the first year.
Best season: Spring - Summer
Hardiness: This hardy tree can withstand hot, dry conditions and a fair amount of frost.
Propagation: To propagate, soak seed in hot water for about six hours before planting into a seedling tray with ordinary river sand.
Growth rate: Fairly fast – about 1m per year.


The Acacia galpinii is widely recognised as an indicator of sweet veld, which retains its nutritional value through winter. The wood, which is heavy and coarse grained, was used for building wagons and although the wood is difficult to work, it was often used for making good sturdy furniture. When grown from seed, the Monkey thorn is a popular subject with Bonsai enthusiasts as it can be easily trained into a variety of interesting shapes.