Aug 2011

Plant a tree this Arbor Week

Written by Louise van Niekerk

Events and advice

In South Africa, National Arbor Week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 September. Arbor Week is an opportunity for the Department of Water Affairs to make people aware of the importance of planting trees, the role of trees in our daily lives and how they benefit the environment.

Can you imagine a world without trees? Trees are not only beautiful, they also give shelter, shade and food to humans and animals. They filter pollution from the air and their roots prevent soil erosion. We use wood from trees to make fires, for building houses and making furniture. We make paper and matches from trees and the fruit and bark of some trees are used to make medicine. Birds build their nests in the branches and bees make honey from nectar they get from the flowers.


1.   They made with wood for cooking and heating
5.   Made from the fruit and bark of trees for healing
6.   A product made from trees that we can write on
7.   It grows on trees and we can eat it
8.   Bees get this from flowers to make honey
10.  This tree can live up to 3 000 years
12.  It is made from trees and we use it to light fires
13. Nectar is found in it
14. Trees give us shelter and ...


2.  A tree that grows naturally in an area or country is ...
3.  The largest living things on earth
4.   We make these from wood to sit on
9.   A tall spotted animal that eats leaves
10. They build their nests in the branches
11. They make honey

  • The word 'Arbor' means a shady resting place in a garden or park, but is now generally used in relation to trees.
  • South Africa has more than 1 000 indigenous trees (indigenous means they grow naturally in a certain region or country).
  • The yellowwood tree is South Africa's national tree.
  • Trees are the largest living things on earth. Some species grow up to 100 metres tall and can weigh up to 600 tonnes.
  • Most trees live longer than people - many live up to 100 or 200 years, but some live even longer, like the baobab tree, which can live as long as 3 000 years!
  • About half of the world's population use wood to make fires for cooking and heating.
  • One marula tree can bear more than 10 000 fruits at a time. They are very rich in vitamin C.


For more information about Arbor Week, call the Department of Water Affairs: 0800 200 200


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