Spring is in the air, which means that it is almost arbour week in our country.
The first arbour day was celebrated in South Africa in 1983 and the 1st to the 7th of September declared arbour week in 1999. During this time, every year, schools, businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in community ‘greening’ events. Trees are planted to improve the health and beauty of the local environment and chart a green future for South Africa.
This year, the common tree of the year is the Combretum kraussi or Forest Bushwillow and the rare tree, the Heteromorpha arborescens or Parsley tree.
The Forest Bushwillow is a mostly evergreen, decorative tree whose leaves turn bright red to purple in winter before dropping just before flowering. The tree has a range of seasonal features, including white flowers and glossy leaves in spring and striking fruits in autumn.
The lesser known Parsley tree has distinctive bark that is easily identifiable. The smooth, papery bark peels off in horizontal flakes, revealing the satiny new bark. The grey green leaves are variable in size and shape and smell of parsley when crushed. This indigenous tree is very cold hardy and thrives in the cooler parts of our country.
Whether you would like to plant a tree of the year, or are interested in choosing another species to commemorate arbour week this year, Sun Trees would like to offer our services to facilitate the process. Contact Barry Gush at Sun Trees www.suntrees.co.za
The JoJo owl box can be installed by:
1. Attaching it to a wall
2. Placing it on a pole (pole base plate included)
3. Affixing it onto a flat surface by cutting off the pole base plate and levelling the bottom surface.
Guidelines to encourage raptors and owls in assisting with rodent management:
1. Erect perches around and in the fields to enable birds to catch rodents that venture into the crop fields.
2. It is advisable to have a cleared area of at least 2m wide around the field with perches erected within the area.
3. Perches for raptors should be made of 3m x 50mm gum or poplar poles and be planted to have a height of 2.4m above the ground surface.
4. Perches for owls can be shorter – 1.6m x 30mm gum or poplar poles that are planted to a height of 1.4m.
5. For both perches long sisal inflorescence stems may also be used to save on costs. Long and short poles should be planted at the outskirts of the tilled zone at 50m intervals.
6. No cross arms should be erected on perches as previous experience indicates that the birds prefer straight poles. Untreated wood is the best to use.
7. To attract owls and diurnal raptors to the perches, it is advisable to scatter a few handfuls of crushed grain around the perches the late afternoon. Gerbils will soon discover the food and lure owls and raptors to the perches.
8. It is advisable to removed barbed wire from fences where perches are erected in close proximity to fences as owls are often trapped by barbs when they try and perch on fences, This is particularly true for marsh owls, barn owls and spotted eagle-owls.
9. Should crop field fences have smooth wire the fence post could be modified to suit as owl and raptor perches. No rodenticides should be applied while raptor perches are up. Should rodenticides become necessary, the perches should be taken down.
10. Rodent food supply. It may be worthwhile to put some grain out around the raptor perches outside the perimeter fence to habituate rodents to the immediate areas around the perches.
Order uors today! Please visit http://www.jojotanks.co.za/contact-us for more information
The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) is an autonomous, state-aided organisation whose mission is to promote the sustainable use, conservation, appreciation and enjoyment of the exceptionally rich biodiversity of South Africa, for the benefit of all people. This Garden Getaway brochure is a brief introduction to the eight National Botanical Gardens strategically situated throughout the country in five major natural regions or biomes.