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Planting trees at TSC is not for the fainthearted!

The ground is hard, compacted and dry in summer and water-logged in winter. Therefore, not many trees thrive here but there are a few tried and tested species that seem to be standing up to the difficult conditions.

While they are all currently growing at TSC, they cannot be planted anywhere. Each area needs to be considered carefully and the most appropriate species planted. Below is a guide and success is not guaranteed.

Planting Guide

It is futile to just dig a hole, bung a tree in it and expect it to grow. The soil at TSC hardens and compacts in summer and becomes waterlogged in winter so a large hole (about 10 times the size of the plant bag) needs to be dug and backfilled with good soil for drainage, bonemeal and compost as. Avoid putting artificial fertilizers in the hole as some indigenous species don?t like it close to their roots. Rather, add it on the top of the soil and ?skoffel? it in on the outskirts of the hole. When planting on a flat area, create a slight mound with a surrounding moat. This raises the tree slightly but at the same time it can get moisture from the moat.

To assist over dry periods, plant a 5 litre plastic bottle and make a few tiny pinholes in it and ensure that the trickle is slow enough to last a long time. The bottle can be filled when you leave and a slow leak could last up to 2 weeks.

NB Protect your trees against people with weed eaters. They ringbark the trees and kill them.

The Plaat

This area is flat and in is dry in summer and waterlogged in winter and  receives plenty of sun. Beefwoods surround the area and could be a problem as they are greedy and drain the nutrients and moisture from the soil and their root systems make it impossible to cultivate anything nearby. Some of these trees need to be removed.

Suggested trees: Acacia karoo, Acacia caffra, Rhus pendulina, Rhus lancea, Syzygium cordatum, Celtis africana, Ficus natalensis.
Shrubs: Buddleya saligna, Buddleya salvifolia, Protea repens, Dovyalis caffrum (thorns), Tecomaria capensis, Plumbago auriculata, Rhus shrubs, Aloes.

Water frontage sites

This area is difficult. Not only is it shaded but it is infested with Pines and Beefwoods. These trees are greedy and drain the nutrients and moisture from the soil. Their root systems and needles also make it impossible to cultivate anything else. Some of these trees need to be removed first to create an area where indigenous trees can grow.

The Lower slopes

This area is tricky as they are sometimes flooded in winter.
Suggested trees: Rhus pendulina, Rhus lancea, Syzygium cordatum, Salix mucronata, Ficus natalensis (burkei).

Middle slopes

Mostly shaded with some moisture (no flooding):
Suggested trees: Celtis africana, Podocarpus falcatus, Kiggelaria africana (must be on a slope), Rhus chirindensis.

Upper slopes

Drier and initially trees need to be watered:
Suggested trees: Acacia karoo, Acacia caffra, Rhus pendulina, Rhus lancea, Syzygium cordatum, Celtis africana, Ficus natalensis (burkei) if moisture and a good soil mix can be provided. If there is sun, see shrubs above in Plaat area.

List of Trees

Acacia caffra. Common hook thorn, Small recurved thorns.
Acacia karoo. Soetdoring. Large thorns.
Acacia xanthophloea. Fever tree. Medium thorns.
Apodytes dimidiata (Wild pear)
Celtis africana (not sinensis).  African  white stinkwood.
Erythrina lysistemon. Coral tree
Ficus natalensis. Wild fig. Often confused with Ficus burkei.
Olea europaea africana. (Wild olive. Slow growing but a must for birds).
Rhus lancea. Karee
Rhus pendulina. Wit karee.
Virgilia oroboides. Keurboom. Fast growing, shortlived, 20 years)

For wet areas:

Salix mucronata. Indigenous willow. Tolerates drought better than exotic willow.
Syzygium cordatum. Waterberry. Doesn?t mind damp feet,

Shrubs:

Aloe arborescens
Aloe ferox
Buddleya saligna. False olive. Good hedge.
Buddleya salvifolia
Chrysanthemoides monilifera. Tick berry bush (short-lived, fast, good filler. Seedlings can be dug up at TSC)
Dovyalis caffra. Kei apple. Good hedge. Thorns.
Euryops pectinatus. Most indigenous daisy bushes generally
Plumbago auriculata. Cape leadwort. Good hedge.
Portulacaria afra. Spekboom
Proteas, various species( Protea repens etc),
Rhus crenata
Rhus pyroides
Tecomaria capensis. Cape honeysuckle. Good hedge.
Vygies.

Interesting info on some of the above listed species. See also www.plantzafrica.com.

Acacia caffra. Fabaceae. Common hook-thorn. Fast-growing, deciduous, tall (14m), beautiful, soft foliage, drought hardy, small curved thorns. Sweetly scented, cream flowers September to November. Host to certain butterflies, good fodder tree. Used traditionally for fencing posts, tobacco pipes and tannin.

Acacia karoo. Fabaceae. Sweet thorn. Fast-growing, tall (14 m), rounded crown, drought hardy, large straight thorns. Yellow pom-pom flowers in Spring. Host to many species of insects, loved by birds and a good fodder tree. Gum can be eaten and was used in confectionary industry, Traditionally used for rope making, wound poultices, eye treatments and cold remedies.

Brachylaena discolor. Asteraceae. Tall shrub/trees, 10m. White flowers, July ? September. Good insect tree, attractive glossy foliage, hardy. Best carving replacement wood for Ebony, used to treat diabetes, kidney conditions, intestinal parasites.

Buddleja saligna. Buddlejaceae. False olive. Fast-growing, drought-hardy, tall shrub (5m), tree. Sprays of honey-scented flowers August ? January. Used traditional medicinal purposes, the roots as a purgative, leaves to treat coughs and colds, to make small pieces of furniture, fence posts, assegai handles. Attracts hosts of insects and popular with bee farmers.

Celtis africana. (not sinensis).  Ulmaceae. African  white stinkwood. Tall (25m) deciduous tree. Flowers August ? October and fruits October ? February. Birds love it. Good timber and traditionally believed to have magical properties.

Ficus natalensis. Moraceaea. Wild fig. Often confused with Ficus burkei. Tall (25m), fast grower, drought hardy, with a massive span. If you do in fact have the right species, it will be pollinated by minute wasps and then produce masses of fruit that are in great demand by birds, mammals and bats. Aggressive root system. Do not plant near building, septic tanks!

Olea europaea africana. Oleaceae. Wild olive. Tall, 12m, very hardy tree. Slow growing but a must for birds and fruit from March ? July. While you will not see this tree reach full size, plant it anyway, it is a must. Aggressive root system. Do not plant near buildings, septic tanks! A tea can be made from the leaves, hard, heavy wood used for furniture, ornaments, spoons and durable fence posts, an ink is made from the juice of the fruit. Traditional remedies eye lotions and tonics, lower blood pressure, improve kidney function and deal with sore throats, to treat diarrhoea
Rhus pendulina. Wit karee. Anacardiaceae (Mango family). Karee. Willowy, single or multi stemmed, evergreen, 4-9m. This tree tolerates drought and wet conditions. Produces small berries, a must for birds. Host to many insects.  Stems used to build fish traps, baskets, and whips. Fruits are edible, rich in carbohydrate, and have formed an important part of the diet of many people, particularly those in the arid areas of southern Africa. They are eaten raw, soaked in milk, mixed with curdled milk or cooked as a kind of porridge. The fruits used to be an important ingredient of mead, in fact the name karee is thought to be derived from the original Khoi word for mead. They have also been used to brew a kind of beer. The berries are mixed with Acacia karoo gum to make a sticky sweet that tastes a bit like dates. The bark of quite a few species is used in tanning. An infusion of leaves in milk and given as an enema to children suffering from stomach upsets

Rhus lancea. Anacardiaceae. (Mango family). Karee. Evergreen, usually single-stemmed, about 7m, hardy, drought-resistant. Popular with birds and insects, valuable fodder for livestock, shade for livestock. The bark, twigs and leaves provide tannin. Wood was used for fence posts, tool handles and parts of wagons. Fruits are edible and used as an ingredient of mead or honey beer. The word karee is said to be the original Khoi word for mead

Salix mucronata. Salicaceae. Safsaf willow. Indigenous willow. Tall (up to 15m), semi-deciduous, drooping tree. Grows in and along water ways and can also tolerate drought conditions better that the better than exotic weeping willow. Good fodder tree, host to certain insects. Roots used in medicinally for stomach pains, fever and headaches. Aspirin, for example, is a derivative of the willow species. Traditional uses include, applying bark powder to burns, brewing tea from the leaves to treat rheumatism. The tea also acts as a mild laxative. Young branches used to make baskets.

Syzygium cordatum. Myrtaceae. Waterberry. Evergreen, water-loving, tree, 8-15m. While being water loving, it is also drougt-hardy. Attracts insects and fleshy fruits favoured by birds. The fruit is slightly acid in flavour and is eaten by children, monkeys, bush-babies and birds and sometimes used to make an alcoholic drink. The powdered bark is used as a fish poison, used as a remedy for stomach ache and diarrhoea. It is also used to treat respiratory ailments and tuberculosis.

Our thanks to Margie Cohrane for compiling this report!

TSC Contact

Email: 
Tel:
Fax:
info@theewater.co.za
028 840 1334/8
028 840 1513

GPS Co-ordinates

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Lng: 
-34.02581022542016 
 19.26300557412105