Learn to look after trees

2019-07-02 06:00
Trees come with a lot of benefits.

Trees come with a lot of benefits.

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TreeKeepers are planning a walkabout with an arborist to educate their members about trees so that they are better equipped to look after their own trees and to answer questions and educate friends and neighbours.

TreeKeepers is a non-profit organisation of concerned citizens based in Kenilworth aimed at advocacy and education to maintain and conserve large, mature trees on public streets, parks and private properties in Cape Town. They intend to increase the tree canopy.

Henk Egberink, treasurer of TreeKeepers, says they are constantly fighting people who consider trees dispensable and ignore the fact that the City’s department of Parks and Recreation are the custodian of all trees in public areas.

“Even pruning these trees requires permission. The casual remark is that we can always plant more. The current drought has made tree planting an expensive and onerous exercise and made us emphasise the conservation of mature trees, irrespective of them being exotic or indigenous.

“Large, mature trees provide measurable health benefits by sequestering carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen, reducing temperatures through creating shade and moisture in the atmosphere, cleanse the air of pollutants, lower noise pollution and reduce overall stress,” he says.

He added that at the same time the roots stabilise the soil and slow the ground waterflow, thus reducing erosion.

Egberink says what they have discovered is that people don’t seem to care about trees, yet they have enormous benefits. “People don’t know enough about trees. The aim of the walkabout is to improve their knowledge and how they can better look after trees,” he says.

Mentioning some of the benefits for trees, Egberink says they give shade and they green and beautify the streets and homes.

“People have a lot to learn about trees. Some of the things they don’t know is that it adds value to properties. It provides tranquil places for relaxation and enjoyment. Trees have a huge benefit and we need to educate each other,” he says.

In the last couple of months, the City of Cape Town has been struggling with trees that have had their barks stripped off.

Egberink has encouraged people not to do that.

“That stresses the tree out and it will not be able to grow properly, it will eventually die. People must learn to treat trees the way they treat their children or themselves because trees also get stressed out,” he says, adding that they are working with the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure that trees are protected and not bark stripped.

He concluded by saying residents should be active citizens and report when they see someone cutting a tree in the wrong way.

“You just don’t cut a tree; one must have permission. If you see someone cutting a tree, ask them if they have a permit if they can’t provide it, tell them to stop and report it immediately. Our trees are under so much stress with this fibre as well, they are cut anyhow. Our aim is to educate people,” he says.

They have monthly meetings on the last Wednesday of the month at 12:30 at the Newlands Nursery.

V To learn more about trees or how to report when someone is doing something wrong to a tree visit http://treekeeperscapetown.org.za or their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TreekeepersCapeTown.

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