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Are you ready for National Arbor Week, Iviki Lezihlahla - 01 to 07 September!

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Vepris lanceolata Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.zaVepris lanceolata Picture courtesy www.newplant.co.za During National Arbor Week South Africans around the country are encouraged to plant indigenous trees in their gardens, schools and communities.

The first Arbor Day was celebrated on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska, USA. Mr J Sterling Morton, a newcomer to the treeless plains of Nebraska, was a keen proponent of the beauty and benefits that trees provide. He persuaded the local agricultural board to set aside a day for planting trees as a means of promoting conservation and correcting the gradual deforestation of the prairie. His petition was granted, and through his position as editor of Nebraska's first newspaper, he encouraged participation in the event by publishing informative articles on the value of trees, not only for their beauty and the cool shade they provide for both people and livestock, but also for their fruit, their value as building material and fuel, as well as to stop soil erosion.

The day was a resounding success and more than one million trees were planted on that day. Mr. Morton's home, known as Arbor Lodge, was a testament to his love for trees, and  inspired the name of the holiday; Arbor Day. Many years and countless millions of trees later, the tradition of Arbor Day continues. Inscribed on a monument in his memory are these very true words; "Other holidays repose upon the past, Arbor Day proposes for the future."

In South Africa, Arbor Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of many people who recognized the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. The collective enthusiasm for the importance of Arbor Day in South Africa inspired the national government, in 1999, to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week, from 1 to 7 September.

Trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities and every year gardeners, schools, businesses and organizations are encouraged to educate people about trees and to help disadvantaged communities, who often live in barren areas, to plant and maintain trees.

If the trees of the year are not suitable for your region, then you are encouraged to plant other more suitable indigenous trees, and if your garden is small and cannot contain another tree, you can plant anything indigenous, no matter how small.

Sign up as a member today to find a great selection of indigenus plants, shrubs, groundcovers, bulbs and trees in our Plant Index, and great tips on selecting trees for your garden in our Articles Section

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