Choosing the right tree for your garden.
I sometimes question the suitability of trees promoted by Dept of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for Arbor Week. This year sees Ficus thonningii, Common wild fig or strangler fig; Maerua cafra, Common bush-cherry, Gewone witbos; Maerua angolensis, Bead- bean tree, Knoppiesboontjieboom. As far as I’m concerned none are suitable for the average small garden on the Garden Route. Any Ficus species should never, ever be planted in a garden, unless you have acres of open spaces to play with. Their root system is extremely invasive and can cause extensive damage to buildings, sewer systems and paving.
Before you blindly follow the tree list promoted for Arbor week, do some research. A good site to visit is http://www.groundedlandscaping.co.za/top-10-trees-to-plant-in-a-small-garden/
We have a wonderful variety of trees available in the Southern Cape, most of them suitable for the small garden and adapted to our climatic conditions. Remember when planting a tree, you plant for the future; take into account the canopy spread, height of mature tree and most importantly the size of its root system.
Trees give a sense of permanence and stature to a garden once they reach an age of 10 years plus, so the choice you make should be the right one.