Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Defining the term 'Organically Grown Trees'

Maintaining the natural fertility of soils is the basis for all organic practice, including the cultivation and preservation of shrubs and trees.

The natural fertility of soil is determined by the quantity of available soluble nutrients, moisture and microbes which are required to ensure optimal growth and a balanced ecology.

While we at TreeCo used chemical pesticide sprays on our trees only when absolutely necessary and tried to use the least amount of chemical fertiliser, the fact that we did so, never sat well with us. After researching permaculture growing principles, we decided that a more natural growing method was what we wanted to use in our nursery.

Our primary objective has always been to supply naturally resilient trees which are grown in such a way as to minimise any negative impact that we may directly, or indirectly have on our fragile environment.

What are the benefits of Organically Grown Trees?

1. Consistent Growth - trees grown in a naturally healthy, balanced soil base are more likely to grow at a natural and constant speed. In other words, growth spurts which compromise the trees natural resilience and core strength are avoided.

2. Healthy Root Growth - newly bagged and planted trees send out fresh roots within as little as 3 months in winter and even less time in the warmer months.

3. Resilience - a newly planted tree should never require chemical fertiliser if it has been grown and is then planted out according to organic growing principles. Organically grown trees are naturally resilient and are more inclined to survive demanding climatic and growing conditions.

4. Reduced Environmental Impact - even though growing and planting trees does itself constitute a positive contribution to a healthier, greener world, by using chemical fertilisers one is supporting industries that unfortunately have a negative impact on the environment.

TreeCo - All our Trees are Organically Grown!

For over a year now, we have been using 100% organic growing methods.

We decided to allow ourselves this extended period of time before announcing this fact, so that we could fully determine the results of our new growing methodology across the four seasons and across our range of tree species.

The positive results we have experienced are nothing short of astounding!

From many of our tree species which have continued to show signs of solid growth throughout the seasons including winter, to a noticeable improvement in the more balanced, sturdy look of our trees across all species and bag sizes, we are very excited about the exceptional growing results that we have experienced.

One of our most surprising findings however, has been the significant reduction in disease and pests. Since switching to organic growing methods, we have not needed to use pesticides or fungicides.

Although our trees have always been renowned for their extraordinary resilience and overall good health, our organic growing methodologies promise an even better experience for our clients

How we do it

Our soil base is specially prepared using Wurmbosch organic compost. We also use AfrEco organic compost tea, as well as Vermigro 100% organic fertiliser. Our soil is able to maintain a well balanced moisture level and a matrix of naturally derived nutrients and microbes - all of which are essential for optimal tree growth.

Find out more

Please contact Rudi on 082 829 5543 or Leske on 072 385 0270 for more information regarding our trees and should you require any further detail regarding our organic growing methods.

Important Plant Families in South Africa - Combretaceae

The large Combretum family is represented by approximately 50 tree species in southern Africa and is widely distributed throughout the country with the exception of the central and south western regions of the Cape.

The largest and most widespread genus in this family is Combretum, with Terminalia being the second largest genus.

Members of the genus Combretum have leaves that have entire or untoothed margins and are opposite or alternate but occasionally in whorls of three or four.

Members of the genus Terminalia, have a very distinctive pagoda like shape known as Aubreville’s model. The simple leaves are alternate and are scattered or crowded towards the ends of the branches.

The small, white or greenish white flowers of this family are usually borne in axillary clusters or sprays, but are generally not very showy.

The most recognisable feature of this large family are the distinctive fruits, which in the case of Combretum have four to five wings while those of the Terminalia genus have only one or two wings.

Although members of this family do not generally have great commercial value, many are grown for the extremely decorative effect of the abundant clusters of long or round, winged fruits, which come in a range of colours from white to yellow or gold, through to pink, russet and red.

Some examples of this large family include:

Terminalia stenostachya (Rosette cluster leaf), Terminalia phanerophlebia (Lebombo cluster leaf), Terminalia sericea (Silver terminalia), Combretum erythrophyllum (River combretum), Combretum hereroense (Russet bush willow) and Combretum imberbe (Lead wood).
Classification Annonaceae

Spectacular Monthly Tree - October 2013

We are all familiar with the magnificent Podocarpus latifolius or ‘Real yellowwood’ which is arguably the most beautiful of the yellowwoods and perfect as a stunning specimen tree for medium or large gardens, as well as being an excellent choice for parks, street planting, parking areas or any part of the urban landscape where a beautiful shade tree is sought.

These superb evergreen trees enjoy a sunny spot with adequate water. They will tolerate some frost and withstand salt laden winds, so they can even be grown successfully close to the sea.

100 of these strong, handsome, organically grown trees are on special this October and will be selling for only R280 each (ex vat and delivery) so place your orders soon to avoid disappointment.

Botanical Name
Podacarpus latifolius
Common Name
Yellow wood
Size Available
50 lt
Quantity in Stock
Average Tree Height
2.0 m
Average Trunk Thickness
3 cm
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

Availability List for October 2013

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.

Scolopia mundii (Red Pear)

Scolopia mundii is an attractive, medium to large evergreen tree with a lovely, spreading crown and a graceful growth habit. The deep green, glossy foliage ensures that the tree looks attractive throughout the year. When the flowers appear the whole tree is bathed in a delicate fragrance while the profusion of golden or bright orange fruit gives a spectacular show from October to January. When growing in a forest, the Red pear grows taller and has a somewhat wider crown than in an open situation, where it will be smaller with a well shaped, dense crown. This lovely tree does well in all but the very driest regions of the country adapting easily to local growing conditions.
Botanical Name
Scolopia mundii
Common Name
Red pear
RSA National Tree No’
If you are establishing an area with a woodland theme, the Red pear is well worth considering as it will adapt perfectly to these conditions in any medium to large garden. However, as this tree remains beautiful throughout the year, providing interest in every season, it will also make an excellent focal point in the landscape, providing shade as well as creating the perfect environment for shade loving plants. As Scolopia mundii has a dense crown and tolerates a wide range of growing conditions, these trees will also make an attractive and effective wind break, while the fragrant flowers and brightly coloured fruits, will attract a wide variety of birds and insects to the garden.
Height6 – 25m m
3 - 6 m
Growth Habit
Scolopia mundii occurs mainly at high altitudes in natural forest and forest margins as well as in kloofs, on rocky or grassy mountain slopes and along streams.
The trunk is tall and occasionally fluted reaching a diameter of 1.3m. The bark on young trees is smooth and grey becoming rough and darker as the tree matures.
The leaves are glossy green above and paler green below with a stiff, leathery feel. They are ovate to narrowly ovate with a closely, and often finely toothed margin and red petiole.
The inconspicuous, fragrant, greenish white flowers have numerous stamens and are borne in branched heads or axillary racemes from May to August.
 The yellow to orange, smooth, globose, berry like fruit of the Red pear appears in large quantities around October and measures up to 10mm in diameter.
Each fruit contains one or two dark seeds.
Growing regions
Scolopia mundii is widespread throughout South Africa occurring from the Cape peninsula all along the southern and eastern coastline of the country and inland towards Lesotho, Swaziland, Mpumalanga, the Free State and North West.
Growing conditions
Red pear trees are not fussy about specific growing conditions so they will perform well when planted in a large hole to which a generous amount of compost and organic fertilizer has been added. Water adequately during dry spells, especially for the first few years.
Best season
Autumn - Winter
These lovely trees will tolerate both full sun or shade as well as a wide range of temperatures including cold, and frost.
The Red pear is easy to propagate from vegetative tip or heel cuttings that have been planted in a rich, well drained medium and kept moist until growth commences.
Growth rate
The wood of the Red pear is close grained, hard and heavy and comes in a striking array of colours from pale brown to pinkish or even tinged with red, making it popular for turning decorative household articles as well as for making fine furniture. This strong wood was also formerly used in wagon building. The bark is used by various indigenous peoples for medicinal purposes. The fruit is edible but not very tasty.
Mountain seringa flowersMountain seringa foliageMountain seringa bark
                S. mundii Flowers                S. mundii Bark                     S. mundii Fruit