City of Joburg

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo

 

Johannesburg Zoo

 

All queries should be channelled through the call centre, Joburg Connect, which can be contacted 24 hours, seven days a week, on 0860 56 28 74 or 011 375 5555 For each query, you will get a reference number. Make sure you keep this number so that you can follow up your query. Email: joburgconnect@joburg.org.za


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Joburg is one of the most street tree-lined cities in the world, with the appearance, in satellite images, of a tropical man-made forest. The history of the city's love affair with trees can be traced back to the 1880s and beyond.

A quick history of Joburg's trees
By the early 1990s, an estimated 6-million trees had been planted within the boundaries of the old Johannesburg - and 10-million within the city's new, expanded boundaries.

Trees benefit human health and affect communities ecologically, socially, economically and physically.

The Highveld (Gauteng area) is a typical savannah/grassland system consisting of very few defined trees, and during the early pioneer days various species of trees from other areas of southern Africa and the world were introduced for fodder, fuel, fruit and wood production. With the discovery of gold, plantations of Blue Gums were planted in order  to supply much needed props for the mines.

Some of the first Oak trees introduced into Johannesburg were from seeds collected from the original planting of Jan van Reibeek's Oak Avenue in Cape Town, and were planted for fodder production by the Bezuidenhout family in what is now known as Bezuidenhout Park

During the 1880s the mines, in their search for suitable trees, opened a tree production nursery at what is now the Horticultural Training Centre at Zoo Lake. Various tree species were grown to test their suitability for mine props, resulting in plantations of blue gums being developed in Saxonwold, Parktown, Laanglaagte, Craighall and the Fairlands area, with many other species of trees being used as the first street and garden trees in Parktown.

Indigenous trees along Empire Road
Indigenous Bushwillow (Combretum erythrophyllum) and Paperbark acacia (Acacia sieberiana, subspecies woodii) were planted along Empire Road to replace the Plain trees that were removed for road widening to accommodate the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) system.

With the region's growth, more open spaces were developed as parks and cemeteries, and the planting of trees continued. In 1904 the first street trees were planted in Johannesburg's town square, and by the early 1990s an estimated 6-million trees had been planted within the boundaries of the old Johannesburg and 10-million collectively within today's city boundaries, giving Joburg the status of one of the most street tree-lined cities in the world and the appearance, in satellite images, of a tropical man-made forest.

An estimated 1.3-million of Joburg's trees, with an estimated value of R30-billion, are situated on the city's sidewalks.

The management of trees within the City of Johannesburg is undertaken through an integrated approach that combines planting, maintenance, care and management within all parks, cemeteries, conservation areas, streets, nature reserves and urban agriculture areas. Tree selection, management and pruning methods are based on history, species, research and environmental factors.

REFERENCES

Alan Buff, 2012, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo Tree Management Strategy