Friday, February 4, 2011

Dry Weather Tree Care

Summers in the Western Cape are extremely harsh with strong winds, searing heat and no rain, so growing healthy trees in this region can be extremely challenging.
  It makes sense to consider planting drought tolerant trees in this area, however, other species will do well provided they are properly cared for.

Recognise the Symptoms

Trees that are exposed to long dry periods, may suffer from drought stress that can be recognised by certain symptoms which may occur suddenly or could take as long as 2 years to appear.

Some of these symptoms include damage to the leaves such as yellowing, wilting or curling, as well as scorching or browning along leaf edges and between the veins. Leaves may also be smaller than usual or drop prematurely.

How to Care for Trees During a Drought

During drought conditions it is important to provide trees with adequate water. A general guideline is to give approximately 45 litres of water per 2 ½ cm trunk diameter. Young trees will be the most vulnerable to drought stress and should be watered regularly until they are fully established.

To decrease the occurrence of drought stress, certain procedures are suggested such as applying a deep layer of mulch. Bark chips, well rotted compost or even a thick layer of leaves are a good option and should be spread out to the drip line around trees, as this will reduce moisture evaporation.

It is not advisable to fertilise trees during times of drought as limited soil moisture may cause root burn and increased leaf growth may result in too large a leaf area for the roots to maintain during long dry periods.

Planting trees in winter is by far the best practice as at this time they are dormant. 

We are all aware that most landscaping seems to take place in spring and summer, however where possible, urge clients to plant the backbone of their landscape (their trees) during winter. 

This enables trees to establish themselves better and gain a growth advantage during spring. By ensuring that trees are kept healthy and pest free their chance of withstanding unfavourable drought conditions is significantly increased. 

For any specialised queries, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270.

TreeCo Trees Grace Sandown Road

If you drive down Sandown Road in Parklands at any stage, look out for the long avenue of trees flanking the road, next to the newly built complexes. 

TreeCo recently provided around 85 trees to Colin at Peninsula Landscaping for this project.
Colin says “The reason we use TreeCo is because their trees acclimatise very well – they are extremely hardy and for this sort of planting where the trees are exposed to the harshest of elements, including full sun and high winds, TreeCo’s trees are the only ones we really can use. We have only had one tree die and that was due to it being continually flooded by a leaking pipe – which is no reflection on the tree or the planting. The other reason we use TreeCo is for their service – it is always a pleasure working with Rudi, Leske and their team!”


TreeCo Big Tree Gallery - February 2011



Has YOUR landscape been TREECO'ed?
TreeCo has developed an extemely loyal group of clients who have come to rely on us for the quality and unique character of our trees. Whether you plant one of our 50lt or 1000lt trees, you can be assured that we have taken every measure to ensure that the specimen you invest in, has the best possible chance of survival within your landscape. Our quality translates directly to your image as a professional landscaper, which is a responsibility we take very seriously.
Beyond the quality of our trees lies the all important environmental aspect relating to how our trees are produced and cared for. We do not use harmful pesticides or chemical fertilisers and our trees are encouraged to grow at a natural rate and to a natural shape, so not only are our trees are genuinely stronger and healthier, you know that you are supporting an organisation that is continually taking active steps to reduce our carbon footprint.
When we ask 'Has YOUR landscape been TREECO'ed'?, what we really mean to ask is 'Have you used the best quality trees, produced by an environmentally responsible company to green your world'?

Spectacular Monthly Tree - Combretum erythrophyllum (River bushwillow)

The lovely Combretum erythrophyllum (also known as the River bushwillow) is a medium to large deciduous tree with beautiful dark red autumn colours. The flowers which appear from September to November resemble small, creamy catkins and are followed by attractive green, four-winged fruit that ripen to a golden honey colour, This beautiful shade tree is highly adaptable and tolerates frost and drought. In the drier and colder parts of the country such as the Karoo, the River bushwillow covers itself in the most brilliant autumn splendour, bringing a welcome splash of colour before the onset of winter. The dried seed pods are popular with florists while the gum produces a good quality varnish. The roots are used to make ornaments, grain mortars and cattle troughs as well as a dark brown dye.
Botanical NameCombretum erythrophyllum
Common Name    River bushwillow                 
Bag Size 50kg
Quantity Available 200
Average Tree Height
& Trunk Thickness
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
Looking Good List for February 2011

TreeCo provides our readers with a downloadable, updated Looking Good List every month. 

Please note that should you not find the tree that you are looking for on this list, TreeCo will readily source what you require, on your behalf. Rudi and Leske Neethling personally ensure that all trees supplied by TreeCo, conform to our high quality standards.
Please CLICK HERE to download our latest Looking Good List.
This document is available as a PDF document and will require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader loaded on your computer, please click on the link below which will allow you to download this free program quickly and easily.

Acacia karroo (Sweet thorn)

Of all our indigenous thorn trees, the beautiful yet hardy Acacia karroo is probably the most widely recognized, as it occurs in almost all parts of the country. Depending on the habitat and prevailing climate, the adaptable Sweet thorn will vary in size and shape from shrub-like growth to a large tree. The common name refers to the pleasant tasting, edible gum that is secreted by wounds on the bark. Acacia karroo is an indicator of sweet veld and is highly valued as an excellent fodder tree for both stock and wildlife. This tough pioneer has a 30-40 year lifespan and is able to establish itself successfully in the most challenging conditions, making it an excellent choice for farms or smallholdings where it can be difficult to care for  less resilient trees
Botanical Name
Acacia karroo
Common Name
Sweet thorn
RSA National Tree No’
As one of our most beautiful and hardy thorn trees, the Acacia karroo makes a  striking garden specimen with the lovely rounded crown, feathery dark green foliage and the profusion of sweetly scented pompon flowers, that are literally dripping with nectar. Birds and insects flock to the tree turning the garden into a veritable birders paradise. The Sweet thorn is also a popular nesting tree for birds as the long spines protect their young from predators. Plant this striking tree on a large lawn as a decorative shade tree, or, where a windbreak is needed, Acacia karroo can be trimmed into a dense, impenetrable hedge. Avoid planting this useful tree too near buildings or paving as the roots can be invasive. 
6m – 12m
Semi deciduous
Growth Habit
Acacia karroo is widespread throughout the country and is found in a variety of habitats from low lying areas to highveld areas.
The bark of the Sweet thorn is rough and dark, almost black in colour. On young branches the bark is reddish and somewhat smoother. The long straight spines are paired and are pale grey to white in colour.
The fine, dark green leaves are bi-pinnately compound with 5-20 pairs of leaflets per pinna. Petiolar glands are usually present at the base of the pinnae pairs. The tree may lose it’s leaves in very cold regions but they will quickly reappear as the weather warms up.
In summer, the tree is covered with a profusion of bright yellow, sweetly scented, pompon flowers that are extremely decorative.
The fruit consists of sickle shaped, flat pods that are green when young and ripen to brown. They are somewhat constricted between the seeds.
The dark seeds are rounded and flattish and are distributed by birds and game that feed on the tree.
Growing regions
Being highly adaptable, Acacia karroo is widespread throughout southern Africa and occurs naturally from the Western Cape through to Angola and Zambia.
Growing conditions
This impressive tree grows best when planted in a large hole with plenty of compost in full sun. Water generously and it will grow quickly in warm parts of the country.
Best season
The lovely Sweet thorn is hardy and will survive in seemingly impossible conditions.
Propagation from seed is easy, The seed should be soaked in water for approximately 3 days, or otherwise, in hot water a few hours prior to planting in ordinary garden soil.
Growth rate
If conditions are not too harsh Acacia karroo will grow fast, up to 1m per year.
Acacia karroo has numerous uses as diverse as leather tanning, raft making and medicinal purposes.
The bark, leaves and gum are used for a range of medicinal applications such as wound poultices, cold remedies and eye treatments. The heavy heart wood is used for various household items including cooking utensils and furniture. The wood needs to be soaked in water for up to six months prior to use however, as this prevents borer infestation. Aside from using the gum to make a water based glue it was exported as ‘Cape gum” for the manufacture of confectionary.
                 A. karroo Seed Pods     A. karroo Flowers and FoA. karroo Thorns and Bark