For the past (almost) two years, we have been living on a property with no trees whatsoever. We’re all tree people, so have been missing having some leafy friends around. It was probably a good thing. We didn’t have to worry about damaging any trees while container trucks were delivering and positioning the shipping containers for the house. But now that the house is up, it was time we got around to planting trees. We are finally getting some shade into our yard!
The Planning Stage Before Planting Trees
As with almost everything, we had many family discussions about what trees to plant. High on the priority list was fruit and nut trees, but we also wanted one or two pretty trees just for shade.
We conducted some research on trees that grow well in the Swartland, including trees that are indigenous to South Africa. We visited a few nurseries in the area to see what was available and the sort of pricing we should expect. And then when we finally had a bit of money for our first tree purchases, we found a place quite near us that specializes in trees.
Of course, our final purchase was dependent on supply and availability. The seller we settled on does not specialize in fruit trees, although he did have a few. Kevin found a few babies that we are very happy with.
Picking Out Our Trees
Kevin had a bit of a free time, so he used it to go tree shopping. He had a wonderful time out in the sunshine looking at the various options and picking out our new baby trees.
The bigger the tree, the more expensive it is and the more complicated it is to move. Kevin decided to buy one large tree in a 100kg bag so we’d have a head start on at least one tree, and with the rest of our budgeted amount, he was able to buy four smaller trees.
This is what he bought…
Planting Trees – Cypress
The cypress tree grows quite well in our area. There are several others around so we know that they are a good bet. This was the biggest tree we bought. We were told that the roots on this particular tree had to be trimmed back every now and then as it kept growing free of its bag. This poor tree was desperate to find its forever home, and was the last of it’s batch at the nursery. Kevin felt a bit sorry for it, almost as if it was the last lanky puppy at the pound.
It took five people to lift the Cypress onto the back of the bakkie (pickup truck). When I heard that, I was very curious to know how Kevin got it off the bakkie as there was only him and Louis when they arrived back home.
They reversed the bakkie right up to the hole that Kevin had dug for the tree. With ropes, they pulled the tree to the back of the bakkie bed, slashed open the packet, and then pulled at the ropes until the tree dropped into the hole. From there it was easy to remove the plastic, make sure it was straight, and fill up the hole.
When I arrived home, and had a look at the tree myself, I detected an aura of happiness around it (as crazy as that might sound). It has a home at last!
Granny Smith Apple
We had been debating whether or not to plant an apple tree. The Swartland is not really known for growing apples, so how well do they do? We don’t know, but since one was available, we decided to take the risk. Especially as it was a Granny Smith; Kevin’s favourite variety.
Out of all the trees, it enjoyed the trip home the least and suffered the most damage from the wind. I am sure that it will recover soon, now that it is safely in the ground. I am looking forward to the day when I look out of my window and see a tree full of apple blossoms.
Macadamia Nut Tree
This is the tree I’m probably the most excited about. One of my childhood friends had a macadamia nut tree growing in her family’s garden. The two of us had the best fun gathering up the fallen nuts and bashing them open with a couple of bricks, to get to the sweet kernels hidden inside. No store-bought macadamia is anywhere close to a fresh one.
Did you know that macadamia trees are originally from Australia? One can expect a macadamia tree to bear fruit from six to ten years of age. This tree is quite small so it will probably be a few years before we get to taste its produce.
We definitely live in olive country. We are surrounded by wine and olive farms as our hot, Mediterranean weather is perfect for both grapes and olives. The first of our edible olive trees had a little surprise for us. It is already bearing fruit! If the fruit survives the transplant, we’ll have to learn how to cure olives ready for the dinner plate.
White Karee (Witkaree) Tree
The last of our trees is one specifically purchased for shade. Known as the White Karee (or Witkaree in Afrikaans), it has proven to be a popular tree around Cape Town. It reminds many people of a willow tree because of it’s leaves, but is much more suited to growing in our dry summers.
The internet tells me that the fruit from this tree is edible. It is drought resistant and attracts insects and bees. It is a neat tree that doesn’t get too big. All-in-all, it’s a good all-rounder.
Planting trees is a good investment in almost any property. We are going to enjoy watching these small trees grow and flourish in the warmth of the Swartland sun.