Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spectacular Monthly Tree - July 2012

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.
Our Harpephyllum caffrum are massive and are looking absolutely stunning. This lovely, medium to large evergreen tree has a dense, spreading crown, making it a popular choice as a shade tree for parks, streets and gardens. The compound leaves are crowded like rosettes at the end of thick branchlets and the shiny, dark green leaflets are sickle shaped with a slightly wavy, asymmetric margin. The insignificant whitish flowers appear as sprays at the ends of the branches while the oblong fruit is fleshy and bright red when ripe. Although the fruit is rather sour it makes an excellent jelly and is also used to make wine.
Botanical Name
Harpephyllum caffrum
Common Name
Wild plum
Size Available
50lt & 200lt
Quantity in Stock
150 & 20
Average Tree Height
3.5m & 4.0m
Average Trunk Thickness
5cm & 8cm
         H. caffrum 50lt
         H. caffrum 200lt
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 info@treeco.co.za

The Sophiatown Heritage Tree

“I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues”
Dr Seuss

The sad sight of a huge, dead, oak tree trunk, that can be viewed in the parking lot of the Trevor  Huddleston Centre in Sophiatown, bears witness to the necessity of conserving our national heritage through the protection of the magnificent ancient trees that have played such an important part in our country’s history.

The 100 year old Sophiatown oak in Bertha Street, was the first tree to be declared a Champion Tree, after local residents caused a furore and asked a local councillor to do something when the owner of the property adjacent to the tree wanted to cut it down.

According to the owner of the property the tree was a nuisance as it was messy and he wanted it removed so that he could construct a wall.

On further investigation, it was established that this majestic English oak tree (Quercus robur) with a 4m trunk, had huge cultural and historical significance.

Before the forced removals in Sophiatown between 1955 and 1963, gangs used to meet under this tree and political activists such as Father Trevor Huddleston and Beyers Naude used to hold political meetings here.

During the forced removals, two people who did not want to leave Sophiatown committed suicide in protest, by hanging themselves from the huge oak tree’s branches.

The councillor contacted the minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Buyelwa Sonjica, who immediately afforded the tree temporary protection under the law while investigations continued.

Unfortunately, by this stage the resident in question had already removed huge sections of the magnificent oak tree leaving only a 4m high trunk, (about a third of the original height of the tree), topped by thick stumps.

In 2004 The Sophiatown Oak was declared a Champion Tree by DWAF, the first tree to be protected by  law and the forerunner of many other trees that would receive similar protection under this important initiative.

The Sophiatown Heritage Tree never fully recovered from the indiscriminate mutilation that it received and died in 2009.
Sophiatown Tree Before 
Sophiatown Tree After

The Guidelines for the Correct Pruning of Trees

As plants are dormant in winter, this is the perfect time to assess a landscape and decide whether some changes should be made.

This may include some judicious pruning of landscape trees to improve their structural strength, health, shape and value. In addition to beautifying the environment, trees can raise the value of a property by up to 20%, so proper care of these natural assets is definitely worthwhile.

Reasons for Pruning Trees

Although not all trees require pruning, some of the reasons for pruning trees include:
  • Thinning the crown to let in more light, enabling the tree, as well as the plants below it to grow better
  • Removing weak or overlapping branches
  • Removing decaying, dead or dying branches
  • Removing low growing branches and raising the canopy to a height that is suitable for people or vehicles to pass underneath safely  
  • Removing broken or damaged branches
  • Reducing the size of trees that have grown too large for the area in which they are planted
  • Cutting back branches that have grown into buildings or are obstructing utility lines
  • To improve the general structure of the tree thereby reducing the need for future pruning
Tips for Pruning Trees
The pruning of a tree should only be done for a specific purpose and should benefit the health of the tree while close attention should be paid to maintaining the natural structure and shape of the tree. To achieve this, the following guidelines are helpful:
  1. Where there is a long branch competing with the leader, the less vigorous of the two should be pruned back
  2. Remove branches that have an angle that is too narrow between the branch and the trunk as a wider angle is stronger
  3. Remove any branches that rub against or overlap one another, maintaining the branch that best conforms to the natural shape of the tree
  4. Ensure that branches are well spaced along the trunk of the tree by thinning out any branches that are causing overcrowding. On a mature tree the lateral branches should be between 450mm and 600mm apart
  5. Remove water sprouts and any damaged or dead wood
  6. Removing temporary lower branches to provide safe clearance on young trees should be undertaken gradually over a number of years
  7. As much as 35% of the foliage of a vigorous, healthy tree can be removed
  8. Flowering trees are best pruned as soon after flowering as possible, enabling the tree to develop flower buds for the following season.
Typical Pruning Cuts

TheThinning Cut

The thinning cut removes a branch at the point of origin on the trunk without leaving a stub and is used to remove old, weak, overcrowded or damaged branches from the tree.

The Reduction Cut

Reduction cuts reduce the size of the crown and are placed in such a way as to encourage even growth distribution in subsequent seasons, while maintaining or enhancing the natural shape of the tree.

The Heading Cut

A heading cut is used to prune a branch back to a bud or small branch that will not grow back to the size of the pruned branch. This cut should only be used when pollarding trees.

The Stub Cut

The stub cut is made indiscriminately at any point on a branch. This method is generally used for topping of trees which almost always destroys a tree’s health and structure.

For more information or advice regarding the maintenance of trees, please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270. Alternatively you are welcome to email us with your enquiry at info@treeco.co.za

Availability List - July 2012

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 Availability List.

TreeCo Big Tree Gallery - July2012


Leucospermum conocarpodendron (Tree pincushion

The beautiful grey leafed Leucospermum conocarpodendron or Tree pincushion as it is commonly known, is a small compact tree that is confined to the south Western Cape where it grows on coastal dunes and mountain slopes. The bent, gnarled trunk and twisted, interlocking branches gave rise to the Afrikaans name “Kreupelhout”. This superb small tree gives a spectacular show when it covers itself with a profusion of magnificent golden yellow flowers. Although well represented in the Table Mountain National Park, this subspecies is classified as Vulnerable on the Interim Red Data List as more and more of it’s habitat is lost to urbanization.

Botanical Name
Leucospermum conocarpodendron
Common Name
Tree pincushion
RSA National Tree No’
 The showy Tree pincushion must be one of our loveliest small, evergreen, flowering  trees. When planted as a specimen in a landscape, the gnarled and bent trunk adds immediate interest while the contrast of the beautiful grey foliage and superb golden flowers are an absolute show-stopper. Whether planted as a lovely contrasting background in a border or rockery or grouped along a fence to form a hardy windbreak, the effect will always be stunning. As gardens become smaller and the demand for smaller, low maintenance trees increases, Leucospermum conocarpodendron is the perfect choice.
Height 4 – 5 m
3 – 6 m
Growth Habit
Endemic to the Cape Peninsula, the Tree pincushion grows on dunes at sea level as well as on well drained north and west facing rocky slopes up to 160m
The greyish bark is 30mm – 50mm thick
The ovate, stalkless leaves are silver grey and densely covered with very fine hairs. The apex is rounded with 3 – 10 reddish glandular teeth and a tapering base
The spectacular, globose, golden yellow flowers are about 70mm – 90mm in diameter, appearing in groups of up to 3 from August to December. The styles are up to 55mm long
The fruit consists of a brownish nut and is released about 2 months after the tree starts flowering
The seed is a hard nut
Growing regions
Leucospermum conocarpodendron occurs naturally in a very limited area from the eastern slopes of Devil’s Peak, along the western and northern slopes of Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles and through to Llandudno
Growing conditions
The Tree pincushion prefers a sunny position and acidic, well drained soil. Do not add fertilizer or manure. Provide a thick mulch of well rotted compost in spring and autumn.
Best season
This species is hardy being able to withstand strong winds as well as very cold and wet or hot and dry conditions
The fastest method of propagation is by semi hardwood cuttings taken in Autumn. These should be dipped in a rooting hormone and planted in a coarse growth medium. Cuttings should be kept warm and misted. Although much slower, propagation by seed is easy and highly successful
Growth rate
Fairly slow
Since 1652, the wood of the Tree pincushion was used for fire wood in the Cape colony while the bark was used for tanning leather. A preparation made from the bark was used for bleeding and dysentery and the wood was used for manufacturing wagon parts.

Dovyalis caffra flowersDovyalis caffra fruitDovyalis caffra leaves and thorns

                 L. conocarpodendron Buds                        L. conocarpodendron Flowers                       L. conocarpodendron Bark