Shuffle for Mandela Day

President Mandela loved children. All children, for race was not a barrier to him. I remembered how he loved young voices singing, “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. How he loved to join in. And even, on occasion, providing a solo. I remembered how he loved to shuffle to all kinds of music. So, how about spending […]

Whereto the Rainbow Nation?

May 10th marked the anniversary of President Nelson Mandela’s Inauguration. Reading his speech twenty-eight years later was sobering. Whereto the rainbow nation? I wondered. His dreams, for what he coined our rainbow nation, seemed realistic aspirations. “Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity’s belief […]

Johannesburg: Urban Agroforest?

Highveld Grassland Biome

One of the unexpected consequences of COVID has been a growth in urban farming. As more South Africans take up the challenge of growing their own food will Johannesburg’s urban forest will Johannesburg eventually become an urban farm? Or an urban agroforest? If it is to become a farm, it would be best that it […]

BEYOND PSHB: Preparing for Planting

Heritage Tree at SANBI Pretoria

Spring is around the corner. Not that we in Jo’burg have had a real winter. Yet why focus on the negative when there is so much to be grateful for? Arbor Week (1-7 September 2019) I am grateful that the new Minister of The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), Barbara Creecy, has stated […]

PSHB: Boost Tree Immunity

Building Nutritious Soil under PSHB infested trees

Healthy soils reduce the risk of disease and pests in plants, including trees. Building or growing healthy soil is thus the best long-term boost to our urban trees, including reducing the effects of PSHB borer infestations. How can one create healthy soil? Despite the differences between trees and their individual needs most experts agree that […]

PSHB: What to do with dead trees

Biochar held in a hand

Your PSHB Infested Tree has died and you are heart broken. You may want to consider one of the following as a fitting farewell:  It can be burnt and the ash used to sweeten acidic soil or compost  It can be chipped and solarised, naturally or mechanically, and used as mulch  It can […]

PSHB: Towards A Charter of Responsibilties

PSHB identified tree in Rosebank

According to the South African Constitution #24 we have the right to, “have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations…” In relation to Johannesburg, this includes protecting our urban trees and replacing those that are being lost on a daily basis. Some of our trees have fallen prey to a natural […]

TREE HIV? Borer Beetle Alert

PSHB Infested tree trunk

Chopped wood lay on the ground at a school. Upon closer inspection I saw that it was infested with Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB). There were a number of infested trees on the property. I spoke to the principal this morning who was unaware of the infestation – the trees had fallen during a storm […]

Walking the Land Back at the Wilds

The Wilds Nature Reserve Board

I started walking at The Wilds Nature Reserve years ago. This area has very high healing energy and thus also draws people who may be mentally unstable and seek relief from their symptoms. Because it is secluded it also attracts criminals; some have been known to assault walkers. One group, The Wilds Walkers, still feels safer […]

Wetlands and Climate Change

Wetlands at Blue Crane Restaurant, Nieuw Muckleneuk

“World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February to raise global awareness on the value of wetlands for humanity and the planet. Theme of this year’s edition is Wetlands and Climate Change. It has been chosen to initiate action against the drainage of wetlands.” Exciting things are on the way in […]