Tree Planting Day

Driving through Grabouw towards the Haygrove offices you are surrounded by the hills and valleys of Elgin. We are privileged enough to have the Panorama Farm border the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, colloquially known as the Floral Kingdom. This protected area is home to some of the most diverse fynbos in South Africa. Unfortunately, alien plants have taken over many of the farming areas surrounding the reserve and are encroaching on this pristine wilderness.

ome of the most prevalent ‘alien trees’ that we have here in the Western Cape include Wattle; Rooikraans; and Port Jackson. Most of these trees were originally imported from other countries with the aim of improving the infrastructure of the land. For example, the Black Wattle tree was brought in from Australia to be used in dune stabilization. However, these trees spread very quickly and absorb much more water than our indigenous plants, outcompete for light and change the chemistry of the soil. Fynbos seeds requires natural fires to germinate but the excessive heat generated by burning alien trees kills these seeds.

As custodians of the land bordering this reserve, we have the obligation of not only irradicating the alien trees but also reintroducing indigenous ones.

Our endeavours on the Haygrove farm started in 2020 with our MD, Mark Pritchett, and his son Oliver. Using the first Covid lockdown period they embarked on a project to clear a small section of a valley overwhelmed by Black Wattle. This led to the creation of the Haygrove Biodiversity Team who focus on fighting the alien trees here on the farm. Now we are in 2022 and the team has successfully cleared 5ha on the farm. One of best proven methods of preventing the regrowth of alien trees is reforestation with the indigenous trees.

After extensive research by our team, we identified and sourced the correct trees for our farm. Over 500 trees I total! Trees such the White Stinkwood, Yellow wood Wild Almonds encourage biodiversity as they attract local birds and insects with their fruits and berries, further helping to restore the balance.

Those who have been here longer with Haygrove were presented with a larger tree as a testimony to the time they’ve spent as part of the team. Those of us still putting our roots down in Haygrove were given a smaller plant so that we can watch it grow as our time with Haygrove continues on. It is our goal to make this tree planting day and annual event here on Panorama Farm, but the work is more than just one day’s worth. It is an ongoing, never-ending commitment to protecting the environment entrusted to us and to encourage others to do the same.

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