One of the many fantastic elements of Marloth Park that one is able to enjoy is the wide variety of trees. Trees are essential to our wellbeing, and the wellbeing of our animal neighbours. Having said this we continue to have a devastating impact on our environment with blatant disregard for the natural environment.
Those that show an interest in indigenous trees will be amazed by the amazing qualities that our trees posses. Medicinal, rehabilitative, decorative, fuel and food are just a few of the uses that spring to mind when quantifying the value of indigenous trees aside from the most vital function, which is produce oxygen.
In Marloth Park, planting indigenous vegetation is a great way to give back to the environment. Nurseries in close proximity to the park provide a wealth of knowledge on what trees are indigenous to Marloth Park and how to go about planting and caring for the various tree varieties. Planting indigenous trees on your Marloth Park property has several beneficial aspects to it. Depending on the tree/s in question you are attracting various varieties of game and bird life. Planting just the right kind of trees could encourage game to visit your property in the hopes of grazing in your garden or relaxing under the shade that your tree will hopefully provide in the not so distant future. Varied bird life is an awesome perk to visiting the park. Having indigenous trees on your property will increase the likelihood of various bird species frequenting your property. Bird life in the park is prolific and this is thanks in part to indigenous trees that house, feed and attract our avian friends. Birders will be blown away by what is on offer in this part of the world.
In general one would see the purchase and subsequent planting of an indigenous tree as a long-term project, with very little projected growth over the short-term. This is not always the case though. By researching your prospective purchase you will find various sources that include the growth rate of a tree. One will be surprised to find out how many indigenous trees are in fact very fast growers. An example of this is the Acacia xanthophloea or more commonly referred to as the Fever tree. The Fever tree is easily identifiable from its’ bright green bark and spreading crown and just happens to be one of the fastest growing trees in southern Africa with a growth rate of 1 – 1.5 m per year.
I was amazed at the multitude of uses for various parts of indigenous trees. The Combretum hereroense (Russet bush-willow) is a deciduous tree that occurs in abundance in Marloth Park. I was surprised to discover that you are able to make a tea that is very similar in appearance and taste to Ceylon tea and an infusion made from the root can be used for gastro-intestinal ailments. The gum from the bark of the Combretum imberbe (Leadwood) is edible and a great source of carbohydrates. The wood is exceptionally hard and has been used in the past for railway sleepers and agricultural implements.
This is really fascinating stuff if you consider how many varieties of trees there are. I found the book “Making the most of Indigenous Trees”, by Fanie and Julye-Ann Venter to be an excellent source of information on indigenous trees. I got my copy at Exclusive Books, however I am sure you can find the book at most book stores and online. It makes a great coffee table book.
In closing I would like to say that there is a lot of hype these days about conservation and environmental issues. I am going to quote Gandhi: “We need to be the change we want to see in the world”. This universal message has such far reaching appeal. Let us start appreciating our surroundings and instil a love of trees into our children.