Planting indigenous trees is one way we can all make a difference. Whether it is because we want to reduce our carbon footprint, restore a bleak landscape or just because we love trees, a tree planted and looked after will most likely outlive us, a positive legacy that we can be proud of.
Planting a tree is a great way of marking a special occasion: a birthday, an anniversary. Now that the autumn rains have started it’s a great time for tree planting and our girls were determined to plant a tree each for Easter, not so much for their carbon footprint, it must be admitted, more because the Easter bunny has always left eggs in their special trees! Even though you don’t need to wait for an occasion to plant a tree it is lovely to have a growing memorial to a special birthday or event, and kids love having their own trees to look after.
Choose indigenous trees that are suited to your area, ones that will attract birds, butterflies and insects. Plant them where they will give you much needed shade in summer to cool the area around your house and driveway. Check how large it is likely to grow, before you decide on the site for each tree.
If your garden is small and already full of trees, you can still plant trees to mark occasions, but you will have to think laterally. Why not organise a group of parents at your children’s school to have a tree-planting day at the school? Research the indigenous trees that would do well in the conditions of the school and plant one tree per family. The kids can then bring water to school once or twice a week and water their tree. Or do the same for a church or a community centre.
If you like the idea of planting a tree for a birthday or anniversary but don’t have the space or time to organise anything yourself, donate a tree to an organisation like Greenpop, who plant trees, uplift and green up schools and community areas in and around Cape Town and in several other parts of Africa. You will be given a GPS map reference and certificate for your tree and know that your tree is being well looked after by their monitoring and maintenance program. You can also join in one of their planting days if you want to do some hands on tree planting.
Whether you plant trees on your own land or in community projects you will have the satisfaction of making a small pay it forward contribution to the future, making it just a little bit greener.