While on a recent trip exploring forestry opportunities in Angola, the Arbor-care team came across local farmers who had formed a small-scale forestry initiative. Gum and pine plantations were being established, largely for the farmers’ own needs. There was an on-site mill owned by one farmer that he used to produce planks for building.The Arbor-care team was impressed by how the farmers, with no formal forestry training at all, had established firebreaks and carefully planted and nurtured naturally regenerated seedlings that they had picked growing from within the existing plantations. The farmers were very enthusiastic to learn what Arbor-care had to offer in the way of advice and technical guidance. Deon von Benecke of Arbor-care says, “Sharing knowledge is an important part of adding value where we can in an area such as this.”
Idube Landscaping, part of the Arbor-care group, is busy with the introduction of indigenous plants and trees and the removal of alien vegetation from Izinga Ridge Phase 2A. This six-phase, 2000 unit upmarket residential development by Tongaat-Hulett is situated on the hills above Umhlanga and boasts spectacular views. Three of the phases are already sold in this high demand luxury lifestyle estate, which is set in one of the country’s fastest-growing development areas.
“We have a team of about twenty people clearing alien vegetation as well as restoring a natural wetland as part of our landscaping project,” says Billy Blackbeard of Idube. “Invasive Alien Plants (IAPs) are introduced plants that have the ability to spread rapidly and take over natural vegetation, have a significant negative impact on the environment and are considered a major threat to biodiversity, such as in this wetland.”
The alien species removed include:
Scientific nameMelia azedarachCardiospermum grandiflorumArundo donaxSchinus terebinthifoliaTecoma stans
Commonly known asSyringaBalloon vineSpanish reed (“Umhlanga”)Brazilian PepperYellow Bells
The clearing programme includes first clearing the vegetation, then chipping to dispose of the plant material and spraying to ensure there is no regrowth. The restoration process includes the planting of indigenous plants, grown at the Arbor-care nursery at Lynnfield Park, and the creation of hiking trails using mulch from the chipped plant material. In addition to the introduction of attractive and appropriate indigenous plants, Idube is bringing in large trees including acacias 6-8m in height. Boulders removed from another Tongaat-Hulett building site are also being introduced for effect.
Idube is working on common areas of the state such as the entrances, corners and traffic circles to enhance the look and ambiance of this exclusive estate.
Indigenous plants to be used include Aloes such as Aloe arborescens, Kranz Aloes grown at the Arbor-care nursery at Thornhill farm, Lynnfield Park.
The project requires the propagation of 75,000 ground covers required for this landscape, shown here being grown in the Arbor-care shade house, which require very little water, and other water-wise plants, mainly succulents such as Senecio crassulifolius and Crassula muticarva rubra.
Creation of earthforms including berms on entrance and circles before moving large granite boulders and feature trees.