The municipality has planted a circle of sweet gums (Liquidambar styraciflua) in Maynardville Park for Arbor Month, dedicating them to the families of those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.
The ring of trees represented the circle of life, said mayor Dan Plato, who was at the planting on Wednesday September 8. Green ribbons tied around the trees symbolise life and renewal, growth prosperity and new beginnings.
Mr Plato urged the public to take part in Arbor Month by tying a green bow on a tree to remember a loved one, planting a tree against climate change, conserving water and using alternative water sources when planting trees, preventing veld and forest fires, and protecting indigenous forests.
The theme for Arbor Month in 2021 is “Forest Restoration: A path to recovery and well-being”.
The tree of the year is the spekboom (Portulacaria afra), an evergreen succulent normally found in the eastern parts of South Africa. This plant has medicinal properties, high in Vitamin C and small, round leaves with a zesty flavour which can be eaten raw in salads. It can reach up to 5m in height in its shrubbery form and beautifies many urban pavements. In spring, the leaves turn yellow when exposed to full sun, sometimes bearing star-shaped, pink flowers.