Arabella Country Estate is situated in The Overberg region which is primarily a Renosterveld/Fynbos area. The Western Cape has a high level of endemism, with more than 6200 (69%) of the 9000 plants being endemic to the region. There are about 29 endemic tree species in the Western Cape.
Over a period of twelve years we have experimented by planting a large selection of indigenous trees on Arabella Country Estate. It is clear that the climatic and soil conditions are not conducive to growing certain trees and that careful consideration must be given to the choice of species and the location of planting. Heavy clay, koffie klip, and sandy soil, together with the fluctuation of water tables, are all conditions that influence the growth of trees and determine their chances of survival.
The monthly tree planting report monitors the condition of our trees within Arabella Country Estate.
2.2 In the interests of safety and the avoidance of health risk incidents, emphasis is placed on safety and accident prevention procedures.
This policy aims to provide guidelines to the Estate Landscaper and Home Owners regarding tree planting, conservation of trees and the managing of alien species. Only indigenous trees may be planted on the Estate.
• Focus/needs for the Estate
• Species choice
• The procurement of trees
• The planting procedure
• Correct horticultural practices
• Managing of alien invaders
3.1 FOCUS/NEEDS FOR THE ESTATE
We need trees for shade, wind and sound barriers, screening and as a habitat for the Estate’s biodiversity. Trees should be aesthetically pleasing in both size and grouping, and should assist in creating a sustainable estate.
3.2 SPECIES CHOICE
Trees that have proved themselves over time should be considered. (Refer to list of trees within the recommended plant list).
3.3 PROCUREMENT OF TREES
When trees are planted at Arabella, a 20kg bag size is preferred as trees of this size perform best under the Estate’s conditions. Procurement is done from reliable wholesale nurseries within an approved budget. The Estate Landscaper should inspect the trees before purchase.
3.4 PLANTING PROCECURE
The best time to plant trees is late autumn and during the wet winter months. This allows the tree to establish itself without hand watering. It is also the best time to monitor the level of the water table. Should the proposed hole become water logged, the tree should be planted elsewhere.
• Tree hole
The recommended hole size is 75cm x 100cm. When backfilling, use a 60% soil to 40% compost ratio. The tree hole should be lined with a thick layer of mulch to prevent evaporation.
The tree holes should be double the volume of the container size
• Planting height
The planting height should be similar to the height of the stem as it was in the container
Double wooden stakes should be installed for support against the elements. A decent sized tree bowl is important to hold enough water when hand watering is necessary.
All dead trees that are removed must be replaced immediately with trees from the Estate’s recommended plant list. Proper horticultural practices to be used to preserve and expand our current tree population.
3.6 CORRECT HORTICULTURAL PRACTICES
Pruning will be subject to aesthetic and functional needs. Proper pruning practices will be applied.
During the planting stage, 200g of phosphate/bone meal should be added. Bi-annually, 100g of Bounce Back organic fertilizer should be applied per tree during the growth season.
All trees should be fed with organic 3:1:5 (slow release) fertiliser, which can be used for the first three years.
Trees will be watered once a week in the summer months until established.
Hand weeding will be done as required, and also in accordance with the maintenance programme.
3.7 MANAGING OF ALIEN SPECIES
There are more than 150 species of alien plants that are invasive in the fynbos biome, of which 30 occupy 10% of the biome. Of these, the most important groups are pines, wattles, hakeas and gums. Pines and hakeas are both serotinous trees and produce huge numbers of seeds. Although biological control options provide solutions, none really works on pines.
Because pines are so invasive, saplings should be removed as early as possible.
Saplings only to remain if:
• They are not a threat to any new or existing renosterveld/fynbos growth in their vicinity.
• The tree has the potential to provide strategic height, where it will not interfere with the fynbos biome.
All areas to be monitored on a continuous basis, and all alien saplings to be removed as early as possible.
All damaged trees on the golf course should be inspected to establish if they are viable to keep or not. Should a tree have to be removed, it should ideally be replaced.
• Additional tree planting
Annually a minimum of a 100 new trees will be planted. Trees that die off will be replaced out of the maintenance budget.