Indigenous trees the latest step in city beauty drive

2015-09-02 09:48
(From left) Mbhulaheni Tshivhase, John Kidger (Farmyard Organics), Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela and Petros Mkhize plant one of 50 forest bushwillow trees on Bambatha Road for Arbor Day.

(From left) Mbhulaheni Tshivhase, John Kidger (Farmyard Organics), Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela and Petros Mkhize plant one of 50 forest bushwillow trees on Bambatha Road for Arbor Day. (Ian Carbutt)

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AS part of Arbor week, Msunduzi Mayor Chris Ndlela yesterday picked up a spade to help plant 50 indigenous trees.

The trees were planted along the centre island of Bhambatha Road, Northdale, yesterday.

The trees planted include tree of the year Combretum kraussii (forest bushwillow), Calodedrum capense (Cape Chestnut) and Schotia brachypetala (African greenheart).

Ndlela, who was sweating with the exertion of digging holes for the trees, said the municipality hoped to achieve multiple goals with this initiative.

“From an environmental point of view, we want to prevent soil erosion. Also, these are indigenous trees which we need to conserve … They are precious. We also wanted to encourage people to keep our area clean,” said Ndlela. “People must understand that these trees do not belong just to the people of Pietermaritzburg. They belong to everybody who drives through these roads,” he said.

The mastermind behind the project, municipal horticulturist Mbhulaheni Tshivhase who has delighted residents with his efforts to beautify verges and islands around the city, said he was encouraged by the recent greening projects that the municipality has undertaken.

“I did my in-service training here and the city was beautiful. Roughly 15 years later when I came back, it had changed. We had to come up with plans to improve the situation,” he said. Tshivhase encouraged local citizens to get involved in the greening projects.

“We wanted to do something special for the city this Arbor Week, something that would capture the imagination of Pietermaritzburg’s citizens and encourage them to get involved and plant their own indigenous trees,” said Tshivhase.

Local composting company Farmyard Organics donated 25 bags of kraal manure and compost for the tree planting.

“When I heard about the project I jumped at the opportunity to help set the roots for our city’s future. It was a privilege to be able to provide the right growing mediums for this exciting project,” said John Kidger, owner of Farmyard Organics.

Ndlela added that needy communities were starting to benefit from the greening projects that the municipality has embarked on.

He said the municipality had already donated vegetables harvested from the gardens which the municipality has planted around the city, mostly to old age homes and children’s homes.

“We are going beyond the ‘One home, one garden’ call. What makes me happy is that these people get these vegetables while they are still fresh,” said Ndlela

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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