Thursday, June 9, 2011

Iconic South African Trees - Tsitsikama Big Tree

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is regarded a loafer.
But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen”.
                                                                                           Henry David Thoreau

In the late 1700’s, recognising the potential for a lucrative timber industry, Lord Charles Somerset determined that the forests around the Knysna / Tsitsikamma area should be exploited to meet the burgeoning demand for timber. Then followed a long period when the relentless harvesting of the magnificent indigenous trees by greedy businessmen resulted in some of the species becoming endangered. To prevent these beautiful forests from becoming completely denuded, further felling was prohibited in 1939 to allow the forests to regenerate.

Among the species that became threatened were the majestic yellowwoods (Podocarpus falcatus) of the Tsitsikamma forest (Khoisan for ‘place of many waters’). Some of these trees that were felled for their beautiful pale golden, fine grained wood were over 1000 years old.

Today, visited by 80,000 tourists every year, the illustrious Tsitsikamma Big Tree, towering over the forest canopy, is 36,6m tall with a trunk circumference of 9m. Estimated to be around 800 years old, this is the oldest of the remaining Tstsikamma yellowwoods and as such is also the oldest living specimen of South Africa’s national tree.
Why not take a walk to the Tsitsikamma Big Tree which can be reached by following a boardwalk through the cool, dappled shade under the trees, resting a while beneath this noble and ancient denizen of the forest, a reminder of the responsibility we as humans carry for the preservation of the fragile resources of our beautiful planet.

The TreeCo Big Tree Gallery!
Have you seen our range of beautiful big trees? Our stock levels and range of trees has grown enormously in the last few years and we invite you to not only click on the button below to view some photo's of them, but to pop in to the nursery and see them for yourself. If you are looking for sudden impact - look no further that TreeCo for your big trees!

TreeCo Big Tree Gallery -June 2011


Spectacular Monthly Tree - Ficus rubignosa & ntida

Although we have many tree species at our nursery that are looking spectacular at any given time, we feature just one tree in particular every month that we know will offer you the best value for money and that will add that special touch to your landscape project.

This month we feature both the popular Ficus rubiginosa as well as the graceful Ficus ntida as these magnificent shade trees are looking absolutely stunning at the moment.

The leaves of Ficus rubiginosa are a rusty colour on the underside, giving rise to the popular name Rusty fig. This beautiful ficus which originates in Australia, reaches a height of about 10m and has a dense, spreading crown making it a sought after shade tree for medium to large gardens, parks and various public areas. As the tree ages, the trunk becomes buttressed and can reach a diameter of 1 ½ m.

Ficus ntida is an equally impressive large shade tree with a dense rounded canopy and originates in India and Malaysia. This ficus has a fairly formal looking growth habit and lovely smallish, glossy, mid green leaves.

Both these ficus species are hardy and will withstand a wide variety of growing conditions from shade to full sun, as well as tolerating a diversity of soil types.

As with all the ficus’s, these trees are best planted away from buildings and paved areas to avoid any damage being caused by the strong root system.

When planted in large containers and kept trimmed, these trees make a real statement on a patio or to enhance a paved private or public area.
Botanical Name
Ficus rubignosa & ntida  
Common Name                Rusty fig & Indian laurel
Bag Size 1000kg
Quantity Available 50
Average Tree Height
& Trunk Thickness
3.5 - 4m 
12 - 15cm 
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
Availability List for June 2011

TreeCo provides our readers with a downloadable, updated Availability 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.

Khaya anthothetica (Red mahogany)

The stately Khaya anthotheca or Red mahogany is a magnificent, large evergreen that has been cultivated most successfully throughout the country. This imposing tree with it’s full rounded crown and tall buttressed trunk is attractive throughout the year. The sweetly scented trusses of white flowers that appear in spring and early summer attract numerous insects and birds while the white barred charaxes butterfly feeds on the larvae that are often found on the leaves of this tree. The dark green, glossy leaves are pleasing throughout the year while the bright red, young leaf growth adds interest in summer.
Botanical Name
Khaya anthotheca
Common Name
Red mahogany
RSA National Tree No’
Not indigenous
The fast growing Red mahogany is a superb choice for medium to large gardens where a permanently shaded area is to be established. This highly decorative tree will provide cool shade and protection for other plants as well as a welcome respite from the summer heat where a seating area is created beneath the neat, much branched canopy. This lovely, easy to grow tree is suitable for all except the very cold parts of the country, providing year round interest for the garden as well as for parks and landscaped public areas. Where a quick, formidable windbreak is required, Khaya anthotheca fits the bill perfectly. By ensuring that this handsome tree is planted in deep, well composted soil and is given adequate amounts of water while young, Red mahogany will reward you with a fast and beautiful addition to your landscape.
8m – 10m
Growth Habit
The Red mahogany occurs in deep well drained soils in evergreen and riverine forests at medium to low altitudes as well as the foothills of mountain ranges.
The smooth bark on the trunk and branches is greyish-brown, becoming flaky on older parts of the tree.
The leaves of the Khaya anthotheca are alternate, evenly compound, with 2-7 pairs of leaflets per leaf. Leaflets are between 150-300mm long. The tips are abruptly and shortly pointed. The leaves are dark glossy green above and pale green with distinct veins underneath. New leaf growth is red. 
The inconspicuous white, fragrant, flowers that appear from spring to late summer, are carried in sprays at the tips of the branches. The stamens form a tube up to 6mm long. Male and female flowers are separate but are carried on the same tree.
The ovoid fruit of the Red mahogany is pale brown, hard and woody and is divided into 4 or 5 valves. When ripe, the fruit splits open, releasing the seeds. The fruit appears from March to September.
The seeds that are released from the fruit are numerous and winged.
Growing regions
Khaya anthotheca is found in regions such as Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.
Growing conditions
Red mahogany prefers a semi shaded to sunny position with deep well drained soil.
Best season

Although Khaya anthotheca can withstand light frost it will perform better in a warmer more protected situation with moderate amounts of water.
These trees propagate easily from seed that has been soaked in warm water prior to planting. Sow in seed trays in a mixture of river sand and compost and keep moist. Germination takes between 2-6 weeks.
Growth rate
The Red mahogany grows fast, about 1 ½ m per year.
The magnificent dark red, fine grained, durable wood of the Red mahogany is widely used for furniture, flooring, paneling and boat building. The wood weathers well and is resistant to borer and termites. Throughout many parts of Africa indigenous peoples have traditionally used various parts of the tree for medicinal purposes. The bitter bark is used for the treatment of colds while the oil from the seeds is used as a body- oil as well as for the treatment of insects on the scalp. An infusion from the bark and seeds produces a dye. This tree is treated with great veneration in the Eastern Province where individual trees are often given specific names.

               K. anthotheca Bark                K. anthotheca Leaves            K. anthotheca Seed