Sustainability: Five Firewood Trees

Hardwood logs

A blustery cold front made using the lovely wood burning fireplace in my lounge desirable.The batch of hardwood I bought in 2017 has proved enough for three years. Yet given that trees for firewood are being overharvested by individuals as well as businesses, what five trees would make the firewood industry sustainable? For a little […]

PSHB UPDATE: Best Practice Challenge

Under the guidance of JUFA, Johannesburg has been proactive in raising awareness about the reality of the PSHB beetle infesting some of our trees. Its work has inspired some individuals to share what they have learnt and what interventions they have used to deal with infested trees. I have not been one of them for […]

Beyond PSHB: Trees For Bees

Noltea africana

Contemplating bees buzzing around a tree I wondered how the PSHB infestation might affect our dwindling bee populations. What trees might one thus consider planting to attract bees?   Bee Trees For Small Spaces Besides feeding bees, Soap Bush (Noltea africana) has the following attributes:  Attract butterflies and birds  Twigs and leaves rubbed […]

PSHB: Light at last?

Wild Olives in pots along Grant Avenue, Norwood

The Forestry & Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) website page on PSHB has been updated. It provides a history of the infestation, the lifecycle of the PSHB beetle, and lists funded projects that tackle the challenge from different angles. It also provides strategies on how to respond to the infestation that echo some of those I […]

PSHB: Towards a State of Emergency

PSHB Infested Tree In Norwood

Your PSHB Infested Tree is stressed and you want to save it. Below are examples of interventions in Johannesburg that hopefully serve as an incentive for you to save as many of your infested trees as possible. Before I do so, it is helpful to know why some trees are infested while others in the […]

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 […]