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Please note:SA Forestry magazine accepts no liability for damages incurred as a result of advice given on this page. The advice is freely given in good faith by experts in their field, and is drawn from their experience and not from research into the particular circumstances surrounding each question.

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Supplier of Silver Oak in SA

6 July 2011

Question

We are sawmillers/timber importers based in INDIA. We require SILVER OAK Wood. (scientific name: Grevillea Robusta, other names: silky oak). Through an internet search, we found that it is abundantly available in South Africa. Hence can you help us in identifying a right supplier of this wood?

– Dhipesh. K, Geetha Timber, India

Answer

I do not know of anyone here supplying that timber. However I will post this query on our website, and hopefully somebody will come forward with an answer for you.
– Chris Chapman


Market for Casuarina/horsetail trees

5 May 2011

Question

I have plenty of Casuarina/horsetail trees. What usage/market are there for these trees/timber?

– Scholtz Vermeulen

Answer

It's a hardwood, so the chipping plants in Richards Bay would be able to use it. Also firewood or charcoal.
– Chris Chapman


Black wattle harvesting and marketing

20 April 2011

Question
I currently have access to a 26 ha Black Wattle jungle estimated to be over ten years old. The forest is located in the Western Cape and I am busy looking at the best alternatives to harvest the timber and take it to market. I am aware that NCT has a regional office in George, about 350 km from the wattle site. Do they stockpile timber there and then supply the chipping plant in Durban? And do I have to be a member of the co-operative to sell my timber to NCT? What prices can I expect delivered in George/Durban both for the timber and bark?

– Glenn Middleton

Answer
Your best bet would be to chat to Craig Norris at NCT yourself tel: 033 897 1500 ... or email him on craig@nctforest.com - he is very knowledgeable and helpful. Both PG Bison and MTO forestry operate down in that part of the world, so they may be able to help.
– Chris Chapman


Harvesting processes in South Africa

1 April 2011

Question

I am currently undertaking a research assignment in which South Africa is the country of interest. I would like to know of the common types of timber harvesting processes which are currently being used within South Africa as well as the issues related to timber harvesting within South Africa.

– Julot V.L.

Answer

It would take too much space to explain all the timber harvesting systems in use in South Africa, and to discuss all the challenges and issues. However I will give you a very brief summary. For more info read the articles on our site - there's plenty of info there on timber harvesting. Basically in South Africa we still use a number of different systems and combinations: motor-manual - felling, de-branching and cross-cutting with chainsaws, de-barking and stacking by hand; semi-mechanised - felling and cross-cutting with chainsaws, de-branching and de-barking with a processing head mounted on excavator or logger, stacking by hand. In this system tractor-trailers are generally used to haul timber from in-field to depot; mechanised - fully mechanised systems with harvesters (single-grip and feller-bunchers), skidders and forwarders; skyline systems for steep areas. The trend is moving increasingly towards semi-mechanised and fully mechanised, although there will always be a place for motor-manual systems.
– Chris Chapman


Removing and selling mature pines

31 March 2011

Question

We have eight mature pines on our property. How do we go about removing and selling them? We live in Constantia, Cape Town.

– Marcelle

Answer

If the pines are straight and healthy, there's a good chance they would make good saw timber. Find a sawmill or pallet manufacturer in your area and ask them if they'd be interested in the timber. It's not really cost effective to get a professional timber harvester to fell, cross cut and transport so few trees, but you may find a buyer close by who'd do it for you. It's worth a try.
– Chris Chapman


Planting indigenous trees in Standerton parks

22 March 2011

Question

I live in Standerton, Mpumalanga, and would like to plant some indigenous trees in the parks. There is no water streams and the trees would have to relay on annual rainfall. The winters are very cold with frost. Can you perhaps suggest a few medium to tall trees?

– Colin Williams

Answer

Standerton environmental information:
Altitude: 1540 m above mean sea levelMean max temperature: 23 to 24oC during November to March with the mean minimum of -1.3 to -1.5oC during June-July, with extremes as much as –9oC during this period.Rainfall: around 600 - 700 mm per year, with mean monthly rainfall >50 mm/month during October to March.

Because of this environmental situation, there are very few tree species in the Standerton area and those that do occur there, have a stunted to shrubby form. Selection of tree species should be confined to species that can tolerate frost and relatively dry periods. I suggest that Colin should look at indigenous tree species that may have been planted inn Standerton that may perform reasonably. Look in the local natural environment for suitable tree-size tree species - those would be the best for the local situation.

I can suggest that the following species may be suitable:

Combretum erythrophyllum River bush willow

Celtis africana White stinkwood

Podocarpus falcatus Outeniqua yellowwood

Rhus lancea Karee

Acacia karroo Sweet thorn (or other thorn trees that may occur in the broader area)

Olea europaea africana Wild olive

Pappea capensis Wild plum or Jacket plum

Ziziphus mucronata Buffalo thorn

Dais cotinifolia Pompon tree

Cussonia paniculata Highveld cabbage tree

Harpephyllum caffrum Wild plum

Some of these may not be natural to the Standerton area but are indigenous to South Africa.
– Coert Geldenhuys


Gumtree cutting business

22 March 2011

Question

I would like to start a gumtree cutting business. How would I go about doing that and what material do I need for starting out?

– Akhona

Answer

I suggest that you work with a forestry harvesting contractor for a while before starting your own timber harvesting business. Then you can see what the business involves. The basic equipment you would need is a good chainsaw, an axe (for stripping bark) and safety clothing (hard hat, gloves, steel cap boots etc). It is labour intensive work so you would need to hire employees. You also need to comply with a lot of rules and regulations eg. employment regulations, safety regulations etc. Most of the big forestry companies would only award contracts to contractors with experience. There are small growers in Zululand and around the South Coast of KZN who may need help harvesting small stands of trees – that's where you need to start looking for work to gain experience.
– Chris Chapman


Gumtree and wattle uses

21 March 2011

Question

I have a jungle of gumtree and wattle in my rural area of Eston, so I want to cut them and make income, and I need to know the price that I must expect. Please tell me what can I use these trees for?

– Anele

Answer

Not knowing the age or the size of the trees, I'd say your best bet is to use them for firewood (wattle) or for poles, depending on size or straightness. Contact a business like Harding Treated Timbers, or any pole treating business in your area (there are several around Richmond). If there is a lot of timber, you may be able to sell to NCT for pulp/woodchips. They're based in Pietermaritzburg. Good luck.
– Chris Chapman


Eco-friendly wood for furniture

16 March 2011

Question
What are my options for eco-friendly wood to manufacture furniture out of? Must be able to paint wood and router etc. Finding it difficult to locate suppliers of reclaimed wood in JHB. Unhappy with MDF because of the resin content. Is rubber wood available in South Africa. Is pine eco friendly? Is there any certication in SA like the FSC in the UK that I can use as a guide?
– Travelyn

Answer

There is blackwood and indigenous hardwoods available, it is normally harvested in Southern Cape by SANParks - they hold auctions twice a year. However the system is currently under review. This timber is sustainably harvested from the natural forests under strict environmental guidelines.

Pine is grown extensively for sawtimber in SA, and most of those plantations are certified by FSC. Companies harvesting pine for sawtimber include PG Bison, York, KLF and Merensky, but most of it is processed in-house or already allocated to buyers. There are also several commercial farmers selling sawtimber - perhaps your best bet would be to contact Roy Southey at Sawmilling SA (044 343 1720). He would know where timber is available. More than 90% of SA's plantations are FSC certified, which means the timber is coming from responsibly managed forests.
– Chris Chapman


Plant tag company in South Africa

15 March 2011

Question
How do I access a good plant tag company? I need to get tags for several trees in my establishment.
– Conrad A

Answer

HP Labelling
Pinetown: 031 702 7777
Johannesburg: 011 914 1830
– Ann Nicholas


Conversion of timber to wood product

14 March 2011

Question
I am a student studying Forestry. I would like to ask what is conversion of timber to wood product.
– Zwanga Cher

Answer
If you're asking what is the conversion factor between tons roundwood and cubic metres, the answer is this:
Sawlogs:
Softwood & E. grandis - 1.06 tons = 1 m or 0.94 m/ton
Other Eucs - 1.28 tons = 1 m or 0.78 m/ton

If you're asking for the factor between roundwood and finished product e.g. furniture - I can't answer. I don't know if there's anyone out there who can.
– Chris Chapman


How to plant trees next to your house

10 March 2011

Question

How close can I plant a yellowwood tree to my house? I think it is the Podocarpus (Afrocarpus) falcatus (Outeniqua yellowwood).
– Deon

Answer
Never plant any tree too close to the house, and the bigger the tree will get the bigger the space needs to be between the house and the tree: for many reasons, but basically because of the laterally spreading root system that can cause the cracking of the wall and foundations, and the littering of the leaves onto the roof and the roof gutters. But if the tree gets too big then a strong, gusty wind can either break off a large branch from the spreading crown or blow over the whole and possibly onto the house. Afrocarpus falcatus is such a tree, and I have measured lateral spread of the large roots (more than 20 cm diameter) up to 40 m away from the tree. Podocarpus latifolius is a generally much smaller and more compact tree when grown in the open. The A. falcatus I will only plant in very large gardens and then far away from the house (also because of the bats – see the SA Forestry magazine article on what indigenous tree to plant). P. latifolius can easily be planted say 2-3 m away from the house. Another reason for keeping a distance is to allow the tree to develop a good crown form. If it is planted too close to the house, the crown will develop only on the one side.
– Coert Geldenhuys


Preventing veldfire devastation in forestry plantations

7 March 2011

Question

What can I do as a young fire manager to control and prevent veldfires from destroying a forest plantation?
– Mtokozisi Mbazana

Answer
You need to prepare fire breaks around the at risk areas, and you need to manage the fuel loads so that they do not build up. You also need to have fire fighting equipment on standby in case of a fire. Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to become a member of your local Fire Protection Association – they will help you keep unwanted fires off the land you are managing. KZN FPA tel: 033 330 8421; Lowveld (Mpumalanga) FPA tel: 013 754 1164.
– Chris Chapman


Procedures and permits for beginning a pine plantation

5 March 2011

Question

If I own land and want to start a pine plantation. What is the procedure that I need to follow to possibly obtain a permit to do so?
– Heine Bellingan

Answer

To plant a pine plantation, you would need a water use licence from the Department of Water Affairs, and a planting permit from the
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It is quite a long and complex process, and you will need an EIA. The availability of
water use licences depends on the availability of water in the catchment. Your best bet may be to contact an expert consultant
specialising in forestry licence applications. Good luck.
– Chris Chapman


Effects of forestry on bird species in South Africa

2 March 2011

Question

I am a BTech Student at Saasveld. I would like to ask if any research has been done to determine the effects of plantation forestry activities on bird species that use exotic trees as habitats or nest on pines and eucalyptus trees. If yes where do I obtain such information particularly for South Africa.
– Decent Nyoni

Answer

There has not been much published about the specific topic – nesting records – but maybe the student could follow the trails started by the following publications:

Allan, D.G., Harrison, J.A., Navarro, R.A., van Wilgen, B.W., & Thompson, M.W. 1997. The impact of commercial afforestation on bird populations in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa – insights from bird-atlas data. Biological Conservation 79:173-185

Malan G, Meyer E & panagos M. 2007 Riparian-zone rehabilitation in pine plantations: Grassland vs woodland for plant and birds? S.A. Journal of Wildlife Research 37(2):159-178

Everard D 2009 What do birds tell us about grassland management on timber plantations? In: Grasslands, Timber and Fire Symposium Proceedings SANBI

Armstrong A & van Hensbergen H 1999 Identification of priority regions for animal conservation in afforestable montane grasslands of the NEC, SA Biological Conservation 87:93-103

Armstrong et al 1998 Plantation forestry in South Africa and its impact on biodiversity S.Afr. For. J 182:59-65

Malan G 2001 The avifauna of riparian-Pinus habitat edge at Mooiplaas forestry estate, KwaZulu-Natal SA S.A.J. Wildl. Res. 31:73-84
– David Everard


Impact of plantation forestry on indigenous forestry

28 February 2011

Question

What is the impact of plantation forestry on South African indigenous forestry?
– Ayanda Awongwa

Answer

I am assuming that when you say 'indigenous forestry' you mean natural forsets comprising indigenous trees. The answer is that plantation forestry does not have a direct impact as plantation owners are not allowed to clear natural forests for the purposes of replacing them with plantation trees. Thus te patches of natural forests that are found on plantation forestry estates are left untouched, and in fact have to be protected and conserved by law. Most plantations in South Africa are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international forest certification organisation, which also stipulates that natural forests on plantation estates are protected. Thus there are no cases where natural forests have been cleared to make way for plantations in South Africa. In fact the development of plantation forestry has played a positive role in protecting the natural forests occuring in South Africa by supplying the country with almost all of its wood and fibre needs. In the early 1800s, people were harvesting hardwood from the natural forests, but the government of the day soon realised that if they carried on uncontrolled harvesting, then the natural forests would have been wiped out. So they passed laws to protect the natural forests from uncontrolled harvesting, and developed plantation forests specifically to supply the country's timber requirements.
– Chris Chapman


What it takes to become a forester

24 February 2011

Question

I am currently a forest student who loves forests so much, I would like to know for me to become good in my job as a forester, what should I do? What is needed from a student? How should I upgrade my learning in class and outside, for now I am still at tertiary level. The reason I ask this is because at the end of my diploma I want to leave school as a forester but not a student forester.
– Vusi Mnisi

Answer
You show a lot of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn. Good! With these qualities, plus a lot of hard work and dedication, you can go far. But I think that every good forester will tell you that in this business you never stop learning, so in a way you're always a 'student'. There's always somebody doing something a bit differently, so by observing others and trying new things all the time you are becoming a better forester. This process should continue throughout your working career. You need practical experience in the field, so that's where you need to get involved. Good luck with the studies!
– Chris Chapman


Seedlings for a rural community project

19 January 2011

Question

I have a friend looking for bluegum seedlings or seeds. A church outreach programme wanting to assist a community in the rural area to be able to plant so that they can develop their own fuel resource. Do they need permission from forestry to do this and where would they get seeds/seedlings?
– Jenny Morris

Answer

Woodlots for fuelwood and building purposes is a sustainable solution to this dilemma. Currently legislation deems forestry a stream flow reduction activity and any plantation development is subject to a water use license application. The form can be obtained from any regional forestry office of the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Due to the nature of this development the process is not normally as onerous as a full-scale commercial application, especially if it is less than 10 hectares in extent. Some of the information required will be site related, so this will need to be established up front eg. GPS co-ordinates, soil attributes, size of area, species to be planted, quaternary catchment number etc.

Without knowing the locality, there are limited nurseries that produce commercial eucalyptus seedlings, but what is of more relevance is the species that would be best suited to the site conditions. Contact the Seedling Growers Association of SA (see www.seedlinggrowers.co.za) to find an accredited nursery near the project site that carries commercial tree seedlings, and they will also advise on suitable species.

– Rory Mack, rory@mackforestry.com


Contract work for a small timber transport company

18 January 2011

Question

I currently have an international truck with a flat deck triaxle trailer (which has stake pockets), but unfortunately Mondi as well as other larger commercial farmers, do not want to give me a contract or permanent work, as they feel that I do not have the experience necessary for their contracts. I am from the Richards Bay area and would really appreciate it if you could assist me with this problem.
– Kavir

Answer

Timber transport is a very specialised business so it would be difficult to get a contract with the likes of Sappi and Mondi first off. Most of their transport contractors are RTMS (Road Traffic Management System) certified, and they are increasingly insisting that their transport contractors are accredited with this organisation. Perhaps the best way for you to go is to try and get transport work from some of the smaller commercial timber farmers or forestry contractors to gain experience and get to know how the industry operates. You also have to ensure your truck is adapted to carrying timber, and an on-board load weighing system is advisable so you know what loads you are carrying. Good luck!
– Chris Chapman


Starting up a small grower business

14 January 2011

Question

I have a diploma in forestry, residing in Umzimkulu south of KwaZulu-Natal, and I want to pursue a forestry business that will be providing forestry services that involves silvicultural practices, land restoration, community outgrowing schemes and so forth to the gorvernment and NGOs in the industry. I have already opened a company and I have dedicated myself to the idea as I am not working. The only challenge I am facing is getting the ball rolling due to financial constraints. I have done the feasibility study and am ready to kick start anytime soon.
Please advise – I am very keen.
– Mbuso

Answer
You need to start talking to people involved in forestry development projects, to find out what is going on, what opportunities there are to get involved, even starting on a small scale and building up from there. I suggest you contact some of the small growers in the Umzimkulu area who supply Sappi with timber. It might be worthwhile contacting the person at Sappi that the small growers work with. Or else try speak to James Ballantyne (079 516 1261) who is involved in forestry development work in your area. Good Luck!
– Chris Chapman


Removing and planting local trees at home

3 January 2011

Question

I need to remove two Poplars growing two feet from our house. What is the best method of removing roots/trees? Also, is there a local tree I can plant so close to the house? I live in the Wellington area (Boland).
– Carol Harnett

Answer

I do not have the relevant knowledge on killing poplar trees. I am not sure whether it is best to first ring-bark them with treatment to kill both the tree and the root system (my feeling is that it will go quicker this way, then felling with stump treatment), or to cut the trees and then treat the stumps to kill the root system.

I can think of Wild Olive as a good local tree to plant, but one should NOT plant the trees closer than 2-3 m from the house. I know this species grows in and around Wellington and does well on the granite soils, and grows relatively fast – not as fast as the poplars.
– Dr Coert Geldenhuys

It would be best to fell the trees first as it is easier to saw live than dead tissue. A herbicide is needed and then one that will translocate rapidly to kill the root suckers. Unfortunately there is no garden registration available for this end use. The best herbicde registered for field use is imazapyr as this translocates well within the plant. As it is a residual product care is always needed when applying.
– Dr GB Harding


Beginning a forest plantation from scratch

18 December 2010

Question

 

I currently own 400 ha of grasslands and I am looking to put it to good use. My first thought was to start a plantation from scratch, effectively having a good long term investment. I have time on my side and not looking to rush anything and would therefore like to know the best way to go about this.

1. What would the best investment be as far as "plant type" for both short and long term investments, ie. Pine. Eucalyptus, wattle etc.
2. Assuming that it passes the EIA and I receive a license to plant commercially, what would the best way of going about planting - ie. Greenhouse, planting seeds and so on?
3. I would like to either read up on plantations or study something along the same lines – what could you recommend to better prepare me for this venture?
– Anthony Tweeder

Answer

The best tree species to plant depends on a lot of factors: altitude, rainfall (should be in excess of 800 mm/annum), soil type, proximity to market etc. You could get assistance in this regard from one of the timber co-ops like NCT based in Pmb, or TWK. They'd market the harvested timber for you, and advise on species etc.


The Institute for Commercial Forestry Research based at KZN University (Pmb campus) can advise on the best species to plant from a yield point of view. They do site/species matching. Getting a planting permit is costly and time consuming, and there's no guarantee you'd succeed in getting one.


Commercial forestry is regarded as a stream flow reduction activity, so it depends on water availability within the catchment you are situated in. You would need to start with the Dept Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries. Roger Godsmark at Forestry SA is a good source of info – tel: (033) 346 0344.
Good luck!
– Chris Chapman


Water consumption of indigenous trees

15 December 2010

Question

Where can I find a chart indicating the water consumption of indigenous trees from seed to 100l?
– Tom

Answer

You should contact Dr Coert Geldenhuys, he is an expert on indigenous forests and is best placed to answer your question.
Email cgelden@mweb.co.za
– Chris Chapman


Bad log quality at sawmills

14 December 2010

Question

What is regarded as a bad log quality at the sawmills?
– Nozipho

Answer

It depends on what products the sawmill is going to use the timber for. Generally the most valuable saw timber is large diameter logs that are straight with no knots. The logs should also be fresh. Basically there is a use for almost any log. If the logs are small and knotty, they can be used for making pallets. The best quality timber is generally used for making furniture or structural timber for building. Most saw timber used in SA is pine, but there is also a market for eucalyptus saw timber. So to answer your question, crooked, small diameter logs with knots and blemishes in the timber would be poor quality logs.
– Chris Chapman


PBS trucks at Mondi and Sappi

19 November 2010

Question

1) Are the first two PBS trucks (Timber 24 and Supergroup) still running for Mondi and Sappi respectively?
2) When are Mondi going to put thier 15 permits to use?
– Barnabas Vroegop

Answer

PBS vehicles are operating successfully for transport contractors supplying Sappi and Mondi. The people to talk to are Des Armstrong (Mondi) and Robin Pretorius (Sappi). They're both based at Pietermaritzburg. Mondi tel 033 897 4000; Sappi 033 347 6600.
– Chris Chapman


Mimosa extract manufacturers in South Africa

13 December 2010

Question

I would like to know the name of mimosa extract manufacturer companies in southern and eastern Africa.
– Devinder Singh

Answer

There are two companies in South Africa manufacturing products from wattle bark extract: UCL, based in Dalton KZN – tel: 033 5011600. NTE, based in Pietermaritzburg – tel: 033 392 4800.
– Chris Chapman


Quantifying baboon damage

24 November 2010

Question

I am managing a pinus plantation and I would like to know the best way to quantify baboon damage volume lost per ha.
– Taku

Answer

Good question, but I can't answer it. You should contact someone from KLF or York Timbers in Mpumalanga - they're based at Sabie. They have a lot of problems with baboons and are bound to have developed a system for measuring or estimating baboon damage. KLF: tel 013 754 2700. York Timbers tel 013 764 9200. Good luck.
– Chris Chapman


Indigenous Witbas/witbos

18 November 2010

Question

I would like to find out more about a tree called witbas or witbos, indigenous to the Tzaneen area. What is the botanical name and does the leaves of this tree have any known medicinal value?
– Dirk

Answer

It looks to me that the species that Dirk is enquiring about is the 'Gewone Witbos (also Witboom, Witbas, Witbashout)' or 'Common bush-cherry (also White-wood or Bush Maerua). The botanical name is Maerua caffra and the National Tree List number is 133. It is a large shrub to medium-sized tree in bushveld, thickets or forest. The note I read says the powdered roots have been used as a substitute for chicory. I can find no information on the medicinal use of the leaves of this species.
– Dr Coert Geldenhuys


Karee wilge trees

9 October 2010

Question

I have been advised to get a tree known as the "karree wilge" for my Boland garden. Is there such a tree and what is its botanical name?
– Gordon Young

Answer

There are several karee-related trees in South Africa, but the one that is called Willow Karee or Wilgerkaree (Rhus angustifolia) is a multi-stemmed shrub to small tree up to 4 m high which is confined to the southwestern Cape. It often forms thickets along streams and river banks, and even along the roads. I would say that this would be a quite a good shrubby tree for a small garden. Its leaves is formed by three long leaflets (trifoliate), almost like the foot of a chicken, and is a dull dark grey-green on top and the undersurface is slightly hairy with a creamy grey color. One gets male separate male and female plants. The males carry terminal clusters of creamy small flowers and in the females plants the small fruit are carried in similar clusters – the do not become fleshy but small birds do feed on them.

There are other similar small-sized Rhus species which grow naturally in the southwestern Cape, which could form an interesting mixture of shrubby trees in a small garden. The Dune Crowberry or Duinekraaibessie (Rhus crenata) has smaller more yellowish green trifoliate leaves with a scalloped upper margin and typically grows on coastal dunes and is often used in landscaping. The Blue Kuni-bush or Bloukoenibos (Rhus glauca) has broader leaflets in the trifoliate leaf, and although it is a coastal species, one often sees it on inland slopes and small streams or rocky outcrops within the Fynbos. A closely related species in terms of looks and habitat is the Dune Currant or Duinetaaibos (Rhus laevigata) but has slightly larger leaflets. The one I like in this category is the Bicoloured Currant or Korentetaaibos (Rhus tomentosa) which is often also associated with the forest margins. It has larger leaves and more colorful. It is an attractive shrubby tree and was one of the earliest species to be introduced to overseas botanic gardens.

There are more tree-like Rhus species, such as the Karee (Rhus lancea) which is widespread along water courses in the drier areas (inland of the southwestern Cape) and planted in many gardens in the Boland. Also the Red Currant or Bostaaibos (Rhus chirindensis) is a small tree (in the forest it can grow up to 20 m with often more than one stem). It is an attractive larger tree for a small garden with colorful leaf changes (it is semi-deciduous) during autumn and also make reddish new leaves in spring, and also with its clusters of fruit that can become semi-fleshy which then also attracts various kinds of birds.

I provided more information than asked for, but the Currants, Karees, Taaibosse or Kunis form an interesting group of shrubs/trees that could be more widely planted in gardens which do not require frequent attention, can deal with the summer droughts and provide a nice variety of leaf shapes and colors.

– Dr Coert Geldenhys


Who to contact when starting up a wattle extract business

13 October 2010

Question

How do you start a wattle extract factory and what are all the requirements. Apart from wattle extract, what are all the other by products in this process? What would be the minimum investment to build a wattle extract manufacturing unit?
– Sridhar

Answer

Please see the article in the Sep/Oct 2009 issue of SA Forestry magazine on UCL – they operate a bark processing factory.

Processed wattle produces tanning material (powdered and solid) which is used in the leather industry and adhesives for construction.

Contact Friedel Eggers from UCL on: eggersf@uclho.co.za

– Gaylene Jablonkay


Bursaries for studying forestry in South Africa

7 October 2010

Question

I am currently a grade 11 learner and I am looking for information about bursaries to study forestry in the near future. If anyone could help me in this regard, it would be most appreciated. Thank you.
– Dehan van Veenendaal

Answer

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries offers bursaries to the following institutions offering forestry qualifications:

University of StellenboschNelson Mandela Metropolitan University (Saasveld)
Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry
Durban University of Technology
University of Venda
University of KZN

Minimum admission requirements: All universities require a Matric exemption for studying towards a B.Sc in forestry and a school leaving certificate to study towards a National Diploma is required with Mathematics, Physics and Biology as passed subjects.

Career opportunities in forestry

ForesterForestry Scientist
Plantation Manager
Environmental Planner
Forestry Consultant
Forestry Nursery Manager
Forestry Extension Officer.

We are busy updating our brochure as we are now under the Department Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. You are advised to contact Irene Mathebela for Capacity building for further information as she deals with the bursaries. Her contact details are Irenemat@daff.gov.za, tel 012 336 6950.

– Tshifhiwa Godfrey Maano
Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries


MTech research on mulching

22 September 2010

Question

I'm currently doing my Forestry BTech at NMMU (George campus, Saasveld). I have intentions of doing an MTech in Silviculture in 2011. I would like to know if there is anyone who has challenges with mulching or has an interesting thought that can be worth MTech research? I'm looking for a masters topic in Silviculture, one that is currently relevent with the industry.
– Kutelani Tshivhase

Answer
Mulching is a hot topic in forestry right now - it appears to be fairly expensive but there are many long term benefits which are difficult to quantify. There are many issues worth studying: the impact of mulching on survival and early plant growth; the best harvesting methods to facilitate mulching; benefits of mulching vs burning slash in terms of soils, fire risk etc.; testing different mulching systems and so on. Perhaps it would be a good idea to speak to Steve Gluts (034) 942 1641 - he is involved in a lot of mulching operations and knows what's what. Great topic!

– Chris Chapman, editor


Machines that strip and cross-cut trees

20 September 2010

Question

I saw a machine on Discovery Channel which can cut a tree and also strip it while it is falling down. I searched on Google but didn't get any info regarding the manufacturer of the machine. I just wanted to know if anybody in South Africa has got that kind of machine for hire?
– Zahid Hussain

Answer

I don't know of a machine that 'strips' a tree while it is falling. But there are several machines which fell a tree, then strip it of bark and branches, then cross-cut it to pre-determined lengths. These machines are used by forestry companies to harvest commercial plantations. There are a number of companies that sell machines like that in South Africa, so your best bet would be to contact one of them directly:

Bell Equipment (Zululand) (011 928 9700) sell John Deere Machines. Afrequip (Zululand) (072 708 9091) sell Tigercat machines.
Forestry Plant & Equipment (Nelspruit) (013 755 1003) sell second hand machines.
Logmech sell TimberPro machines (035 550 5069)
Sampo Rosenlew sell machines as well (larry.jenkin@sampo-rosenlew.fi)

– Chris Chapman


Cutting back a wattle jungle for plantation use

26 July 2010

Question

Hi, I am interested in a block of land near Grahamstown, but its got a lot of wattle on it – about 50 ha. Some of the trees are large - 80mm and bigger and not straight, but the majority of the land is covered like hair on a dog's back by wattle the size of your thumb. Is there a way to convert the young trees to managed forest and could you provide me with any articles on how to do this?
– Marcel Kroese

Answer:

The wild growing wattle that you describe sounds like what the industry calls a 'wattle jungle'. If you reduce the number of trees giving even spacing to the remaining bigger, healthier, straighter trees you could end up with some good timber after a growing period of about 10 yrs (planting to felling). But you are far from the main timber markets (pulp or chips) which are in Durban and Richards Bay. The wattle bark is also a valuable raw material with tanning extract factories in the KZN Midlands, once again distance is your problem.

The cost of transport may make it uneconomical. The bark would have to be dried, bundled and sent to UCL or NTE. Local firewood or charcoal plants could be a better alternative. Your next problem is a planting permit, issued by the Dept Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries. If you already have one you're OK, but if not you're not going to get it easily.

Commercial plantations have to be licensed. Then there are the baby wattles like 'hairs on a dog's back'. If you thin them into rows with lots of hard work (as described above) you could end up with a useful stand eventually. But wattles make millions of seeds which will keep coming up, wanted or unwanted, for up to 30 years, so good luck.
– Chris Chapman


Producing seedlings for the commercial plantation market

24 July 2010

Question

We are an indigenous nursery based in Pinetown and are considering producing seedlings for the commercial plantation market. Where can I find out more market information regarding Podocarpus falcatus as we are interested in producing this yellowwood. Your response, as always, is deeply appreciated.
– Simon Beverley, Pinetown

Answer

Podocarpus falcatus or Outeniqua Yellowwood is currently not in the commercial plantation market, but its demand is primarily based on good quality, large-diameter logs for various products such as table surfaces, panels with dark timber, etc. The SANParks office in Knysna and the DAFF offices in Knysna and King Williams Town should be able to give Simon Beverley more information on how the timber from the natural forests is used. I believe that timber from grown trees could still be used, but such a market may still have to be developed, such as for Do-It-Yourself kits for chairs. It will take about 30 – 40 years to grow trees to that size, but very little research has been done in that context.
– Coert Geldenhuys


Suppliers of tractor-drawn trailers

13 July 2010

Question

I am looking for suppliers of self-loading tractor-drawn timber trailers complete with crane for payload of between 10-15 tons. Ideal for small diameter saw logs and wattle logs.
– Sherpard Machona, Zimbabwe

Answer

Afrit Pty Ltd, who are in Pretoria. Telephone 012 541 2123 and ask for Johan or Albert van de Wetering.
– Ann Nicholas


Timber planting permits

5 July 2010

Question

I am looking at buying a piece of land of about 600ha of which 60ha are planted under timber (Pine, wattle and gum). The rest of the area is grassland which is used by the local community for grazing. If I buy this land will I be able to obtain planting permits to plant the grass area to timber? Or will I be able to plant the area without a permit? What is the current price for land in the country at the moment?
– Corlius du Plooy

Answer

Planting permits for commercial timber are very difficult to get. Need to do a full EIA and more. Most catchments are closed to timber. I have no idea about the price of land.
– Chris Chapman


Funding options for timber transport companies

5 July 2010

Question

I am currectly looking for a direct contract or sub-contract to transport timber in areas around Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. I have approached one of the biggest funding intitutions in SA for funding of this timber trucks and their response was, as soon as I get a timber transportation contract, they are willing to help me regarding the financing of the trucks. So can you help or advise with regard to getting a contract to transport timbers?
– Ottis Nyalunga

Answer

Contact Sappi, Mondi, York Timbers, KLF, Merensky, Safcol etc for a start. Most of the big timber growers advertise tenders for their transport contracts. Otherwise try some of the commercial timber farms, this may be a better option because the contracts will be smaller.
– Chris Chapman


Sawmills in Western Cape

21 June 2010

Question

I am on the lookout for reputable sawmills in the Western Cape (Cape Town to Ceres to Oudtshoorn to Mosselbaai covering area) to do business with. Is there an association representing same that I can make contact with to obtain trustworthy referrals?
– Gerrit Stenvert

Answer

Try these guys:

Karl-Heinz Niemand, MTO General manager – 044 871 1016; 082 802 0860
Jan Stander, Forester for PG Bison – 082 806 5754
– Chris Chapman


Black wattle removal and indigenous trees for shade

17 May 2010

Question

I live in Bethlehem in the Free State and have recently bought a plot that borders a nature reserve. Hanging into my plot are some black wattle which is very close to my house which has a thatch roof and I am told black wattle burns very well and could be a serious problem to my house.

1. Can I cut these back without having to go to the reserve owners and ask permission?
2. I have a lot of blue gums that I want to either tidy up or remove, how do I permanetly remove them, I have been told there is a poision we can paint onto the stumps but do not know what that is or if this is the best option. Can I use the poles for fencing and if so what do I paint onto them to stop any bugs?
3. What fast-growing indigenous trees can I grow in this area for shade?
– Debbie Bowen

Answer

Hannes Steenkamp, Houtskuur CC, might be interested in obtaining the trees form you. Cell: 072 569 6769.

Hylton Cruse, does tree clearing as his business. He could help you with most of your questions. Cell: 083 702 0357.
– André James vd Merwe


Viable uses for eucalyptus waste

15 May 2010

Question

In Uruguay a lot of timber is wasted when forests of Eucalyptus are thinned. Is there a viable option to using this 'waste' which includes poles of up to 3-year growth.
– Neil Farrans

Answer

We did an article a while back on Busby Oils in Pietermaritzburg (see SA Forestry magazine Nov/Dec 2008 issue) who take the Eucalyptus leaves and make Eucalyptus oil for such products as Zambuk, Deep Heat and Vicks. Call them on – Tel: 033 343 1761.
– Gaylene Jablonkay


Planting indigenous trees in Dargle

13 May 2010

Question

My farm, some 250ha, is in the Dargle area (very near everglades hotel) comes complete with substantial wattle invasion and patches of pine plantation - it is full of stones, steepness, plentiful water and, on the southern slopes, substantial dense zones of indigenous forest - it has remained untouched for 20 years or longer and our intention is to attack the wattle and restore the valley.

We would probably start planting a selection of indigenous trees (not in rows) best suited for each local habitat starting with filling the gaps left by cropping and clearing, then extendable beyond to reach other areas.

I would welcome an opportunity to discuss how to achieve this.
kind regards
– Kevin McGarry

Answer

I used Google Earth to look at the area – I attach the image herewith. I trust that the area Kevin talks about fall within the area of the image. If I look at this area, then it is clear that trees can grow here, but the general landscape is like the typical area around Midlands Forest Lodge and the area east of the N3 almost the same east-west line as Midlands Forest Lodge (I have visited these areas recently). The general natural landscape is a matrix of grassland, and the forests occur as relatively small patches in the landscape often on southern aspects – which give the impression that they are there because of the mist and rain from the south – but in reality they occur in the protected fire-shadow areas in relation the prevailing hot dry bergwinds during the winter months. The plantation fire protection, and fire protection measures of the hotel, and the road network all have contributed to a less severe fire environment. That is why the wattles and pines and other invasive plant species start to establish. In general I do not advise people to plant trees but rather to facilitate the natural process of forest recovery.

My advice is not to plant (I can give him many reasons for this – introducing diseases from nurseries into system, possible plants with different gene pool than in surrounding forest, more expensive, and natural regeneration has always outgrew our plantings) AND not to clear the wattle (this just stimulates the soil-stored wattle seeds to regenerate in mass). I suggest that he follows the following steps:

Look at the natural fire patterns, as shown by the location pattern of the natural forest (see diagram in the attached article, and also in the SA Forestry magazine of NovDec 2007). He should not attempt planting towards natural forest if the sites are within the fire zone (the normal fire pathways, generally and naturally covered in grassland) unless they have good fire control, but somewhere a fire could come unexpectedly).

If the site is within the fire shadow area, look at the wattle stand and decide in which development stage the wattle stand is (see previous article and the one which appeared in SA Forestry magazine of May/Jun2006). Note that different stages will occur within the total area. Stage 1 has dense wattle with no/very few forest species. Keep that aside for a later action (allow it to undergo self-thinning). Stages 2 and 3 have single plants to clusters of natural forest species starting to establish, and the density, size of clusters and height of the plants in a cluster will increase from stages 2 to 3. Stage 4 will rather be in the area of the forest where there are some remnants of wattle around. Follow the guidelines as provided in the article.

Generally people tell me there is no forest regeneration in the wattle stands but if the forest is the one as in the attached image, and the wattle is also in this area, then I can assure Kevin that there will be natural forest regeneration in that wattle stand, and that he would be able to recognize the stages – he will just have to change his mindset towards the wattle being his ally in this and not his enemy

Once he has recognized the natural forest species, he should focus on the natural forest clusters and selectively remove the wattle in those spots – not too much that the increased light conditions stimulate wattle regeneration, but enough to help the forest seedlings to grow faster (most forest species are shade-tolerant but wattle requires ample light to regenerate).

If there are specific species they would like to plant which do not occur in the area, or which do not readily disperse, they could plant those – I would normally wait with that until I get the natural regeneration sorted out. The birds (also monkeys and baboons) and to some extent wind, can help to do the planting at no extra cost!

If Kevin needs further information or clarity on this approach, he could contact me. If he understands the potential of this approach but feels uncertain about how to go about this, I would gladly help. I could fly to Durban (its cheaper than to fly to PMB) and drive up to his place, give him practical guidance in the field, and return the evening of the same day. If they are a group of people interested in this, then it could be cheaper. I will require payment of my running costs (travel by plane and car), my consultancy fee plus 14% VAT. I can discuss this with him directly if required, but I suggest that he first look at the guidance provided.
– Coert Geldenhuys


Saw timber thinning calculations

7 April 2010

Question

I am trying to budget for Pine. If you are rotating on 25 years with a MAI of 12 m3/ha/yr that would be about 300 m3 at felling. But most pine operations thin, in fact they normally thin out 2-3 times between 5-15 years. If I am trying to budget in thining at 5, 10 and 15 years, what amount of timber would be extracted and is this considered part of the 300 tons expected, or is it over and above?

I understand first thining is normally at 5 yrs and takes out 1 in 7 rows for access. This yeilds around 25-30 tons/ha. But what happens in year 10 and 15?
– Ken Pope

Answer

It is clear from the question that you want to grow saw timber. One will generally plant for saw timber at an espacement which will only require you to do a first thinning between 8 and 10 years.

To thin at 5 years will not give a utilisable product and you could rather save on not planting those trees at all.

Depending on the initial espacement and final goal (saw timber only or veneer as well) one will decide on two or three thinnings. If you do a third thinning, you will probably have to make the rotation longer to 30 years to get the full benefit of a third thinning at age 18 or 20.

For normal saw timber, a first thinning will give about 20 to 25m3 /ha and the second thinning 40 to 50m 3/ha. All depending on the site quality.
MAI means total volume grown. MAI 12 over 25 years will yield 300m3 which includes the thinning volumes.

I hope this helps.
– Louis van Zyl, Merensky


How much bark produces 1 ton of Mimosa powder?

6 April 2010

Question

How much bark do you need to produce 1 Ton of Mimosa powder? A good estimate will do.
– Ben van Jaarsveld, China

Answer

According to Friedel Eggers of UCL, based in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, they work on a conversion of 3 to 4 tons of bark per ton of product - moisture content and age of the bark gives the variance.
– Chris Chapman


Plywood mills in South Africa

18 March 2010

Question

We are interested in importing Radiata Pine Plywood for use in our Australian carpet gripper factory. Can you assist us in locating South African plywood mills capable of servicing our needs? BBS is a manufacturer of Carpet Gripper. Our factory is located in Melbourne.
– Will Bateman

Answer

Try Karl-Heinz Niemand from MTO or Jan Stander from PG Bison - they are based in the southern Cape where they grow a lot of Radiata pine, so I'm sure they can help.
– Chris Chapman


Mimosa manufacturers in Swaziland

11 March 2010

Question

Can you help me to get in touch with Mimosa manufacturers in Swaziland? China needs Mimosa for new business and are willing to invest money to expand factories in Swaziland to up their production. More than 10 000 leather tanning factories are involved in this project. South African Mimosa manufacturers are welcome to join the project.

For more information please contact me at: benvernal@gmail.com
– Ben van Jaarsveld

Answer

According to my source, the Mimosa factory in Swaziland has closed its doors and the equipment was subsequently purchased by a South African-based bark factory. Have a chat to Dave Dobson – he has good knowledge about the state of play regarding wattle bark processing in southern Africa. email: ddobson@mweb.co.za

– Chris Chapman


Harvesting wattle off 1ha in Swaziland

9 March 2010

Question

How much timber could I expect to harvest off one hectare of wattle trees in Swaziland?
– Salebona Simelane

Answer

For a managed wattle plantation you could expect to harvest approximately 13 tons bark and 70 tons timber (info kindly supplied by Dave Dobson). The bark is in demand by processing factories like the one at Iswepe (near Piet Retief) operated by NTE or at Dalton in KZN operated by UCL. Ideally bark needs to be fresh to collect top prices. Currently timber prices are around R575/ton for wattle timber, and between R660 - R800/ton for bark depending on freshness and quality.
– Chris Chapman


Raw material supplier for kraft liner and fluting medium

9 March 2010

Question

We are carton manufacturing company in Uganda, so we are looking for raw material supplier, basically kraft liner and fluting medium 125 gsm. So please assist me.
– Mohammed Rafe

Answer

Try speak to Mondi - they manufacture packaging material. Contact: obert.mandimutsira@mondigroup.co.za
Good luck.
– Chris Chapman


Legal responsibilities of foresters with regard to safety

5 March 2010

Question

In terms of health and safety what are the legal responsibilities of the landowner, the primary contractor (forest owner) and subcontractors (harvesting and transport)?
– Gerrit Stenvert

Answer

I asked one of my contacts for an answer to your query, and he said he could write a book about it. So ja, its a very broad question and you would need to narrow it down considerably to get an answer.

Perhaps you should have a chat to Jaap Steenkamp, who is a lecturer at NMMU Saasveld and manages the SA Forestry Contractors Association. Ultimately I guess the operator of the forestry business on the land is responsible for health and safety, but this responsibility is shifted across to the contractors who would be responsible for health and safety of their own workers. This of course would depend on the nature and content of the contract.

Having said that, if health and safety standards are not maintained in a forestry business, then the grower/operator will lose their FSC certification which has implications.

– Chris Chapman


Seedling suppliers in Durban

4 March 2010

Question

I need contact details of seedling suppliers/growers of trees and shrubs in Durban.
– Philani Nyandeni

Answer

Try these three nurseries who deliver to Durban:
Sunshine Seedlings: Ken Leisegang – 033 390 3047
Sutherland Seedlings: Shaun Biggs – 039 834 1953
Zululand Nurseries: Gareth Chittenden – 035 474 2666
– Gaylene Jablonkay


SABS certified timber suppliers

22 February 2010

Question

My startup business developed a range of timber marking stamps to mark certification details onto structural timber for SATAS. These stamps are made from silicone rubber as oposed to the traditional natural rubber stamps. I have been approached by a number of SABS clients who suffered to get hold of rubber stamp suppliers who are able to produce these large stamps. I would like to market my stamps to SABS clients and would like to know where I can get hold of a list of SABS certified timber suppliers, please.
– Eben Cilliers

Answer

Go onto the well-organised SABS site – use this specific address: www.sabs.co.za/Business_Units/Certification/
and click on the specification no. of the kind of timber you want on their list. It will give you the company name, as well as contact details.
– Gaylene Jablonkay


Viability of a power plant fed by wood

8 February 2010

Question

I am a Masters student in Agricultural Economics and I am investigating the viability of a power plant fed by wood. I want to know how you would ensure a constant supply of wood for the plant. The plant would outsource wood production to farmers and need a constant supply to operate effectively.

If you have knowledge in this area please let me know.
– Carl Goosen

Answer

Hi Carl

Timber is currently grown extensively in the Southern Cape, KZN, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. Most of the timber is contracted to processors like pulp and paper mills, chipping mills and sawmills. Your best bet would be to talk to individual owners of timber farms closest to where the plant would be situated, as timber is a bulk commodity and expensive to transport. Speak to Roger Godsmark at Forestry South Africa in Pietermaritzburg (033 346 0344) to get names of growers, as FSA is a timber growers' association. Otherwise you could try one of the co-ops, like NCT or TWK.
– Chris Chapman


Harvesting contractors in KwaZulu-Natal midlands

4 February 2010

Question

Please could I have a list of harvesting contractors operating in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, specifically harvesting pine. Thanks.
– Danie Steenkamp

Answer

Contact the South African Contractors Association (SAFCA), specifically these two people: SAFCA/FCPI (Pamela Naidoo) Pietermaritzburg, pamzmail@vodamail.co.zaSAFCA (Michael Hlengwa) Pietermaritzburg, hlengwa@satweb.co.za

– Gaylene Jablonkay


Training options in international trade of wood byproducts

18 January 2010

Question

I've been contacted by a French student. He is looking for a six months training stint. He is studying "international trade of wood and wood by products". The topic of the training should be related to a market or a feasibility studies for a plan in the company promoting a new product (using communication aids and finding new customers).
– Valerie Grzeskowiak

Answer
Try:
Mondi - Melanie Dass tel +27 31 451 2111
Sappi - Zelda Schwalbach tel +27 33 347 6600
NCT - Anitha Nicholson tel +27 33 897 8500
FSA - Roger Godsmark tel +27 33 346 0344

Good luck.
– Chris Chapman


Harvesting supervisors in Ugie

18 January 2010

Question

Hi. I am a Forester with my own equipment (Timberjack 1270 harvester and Timberjack 1110 Forwarder and support vehicle) working in the UK. I am looking at coming home to Ugie, South Africa, with my equipment in the near future.


Is it possible for you to supply me with the contact details of the harvesting supervisors in Ugie (or even just a phone no).
– Eloff Groenewald

Answer

You should contact Pieter de Wet at PG Bison, Ugie. Tel 045 933 7000. He's in charge of harvesting for PGB in Ugie. It's the only big forestry operation in that part of the world as far as I know, but I understand they do their own harvesting.
– Chris Chapman

I got a hold of Bell Equipment who sell Timberjack harvesters and forwarders and they said besides PG Bison, there is also Singisi Forest Products (a branch of Hans Merensky) who have a mill about 65 kms from Ugie.

Call Hans Merensky: International Tel: +27 11 381 5750, fax them: International Fax: +27 11 726 8600 or email them:info@hansmerensky.co.za
– Gaylene Jablonkay


Establishing a charcoal operation

6 January 2010

Question

I am looking to establish a charcoal operation.

I require portable charcoal ovens (made from steel or such) to produce the charcoal. Could you point me in the right direction? Do you know of any suppliers whom manufacture these type of ovens/kilns?
– Hanu Wilsenach

Answer

Visit this interesting website: http://www.vuthisa.com/posts/ for plans to make the ovens (you could make them yourself or give them to a local engineering company to make up for you). Otherwise, contact Gordon Potgieter on 082 652 4457, who built his own kilns on his farm in Zululand (see our Jan/Feb 09 issue or a pic of it on ourFacebook Group (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=91964957592&ref=ts)
– Gaylene Jablonkay


Social for profit venture in Eastern Cape

23 November 2009

Question

I am looking to start a social for profit venture in South Africa, focusing on the eradication of alien invasives, specifically wattle, in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. I need to procure more info with regard to the distribution of jungle wattle in the Eastern Cape region, possibly with detailed maps etc if possible. Do you currently know where I might be able to procure more info with regard to the occurence thereof? Who should I speak to? Furthermore, do you know of any possibilities of working with NGO's to procure funding for green projects such as this?

I thank you for your time, it is dearly appreciated.
– Hanu Wilsenach

Answer

There are lots of wattle jungles scattered around the Eastern Cape. Your timing is good because there is a project on the go to establish new forestry in Eastern Cape, including the conversion of wattle jungle to productive stands.

Try Stephen Keet at AsgiSA E Cape (stephen@keet.co.za); or Mike Howard of Fractal Forest, a forestry consulting business active in that area (mdhoward@iafrica.com) or Sipho Masuku at the Department Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (masukus@dwaf.gov.za).

Please let us know your progress.
– Chris Chapman


Planting indigenous trees in Henley on Klip

14 October 2009

Question

We recently bought a property in Henley on Klip, just south of Johannesburg. Huge bluegum trees were cut down and we want to plant indigenous trees in their place. Fast growing, tall with broad leaves. Can you help please?
– Michael Smith

Answer

To provide you with useful suggestions, I need to know some more information about your site. Firstly, where is your property located? A Google Earth image of the Henley on Klip area shows a moister area near the river (suitable for some species) and a drier area away from the river (much restricted choice). Secondly, I assume that this areas gets frost in winter – how severe is that?

A few general comments:
i. Your preference for fast-growing indigenous trees that will grow tall is a tall order! Naturally indigenous tree species from that area (other than South African indigenous tree species) will be few in numbers and would not grow tall and would not have broad leaves. So what do you mean by tall – 5 m, 10 m or more?
ii. Fast-growing South African indigenous tree species with broad leaves will not necessarily grow on your property because of frost. I can think of the following species if your property is closer to the river – moister sites. The Outeniqua yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus) is a fast-growing South African indigenous tree species (our National tree) that I think will grow there, and that will be frost-tolerant, does not have broad leaves. You need to plant them far away from the house because bats can paint your house with their excretions when eating the fruit – unless you can plant male trees, but that we cannot determine when the tree is still small. Wild Plum (Harpephyllum caffrum) and Cape Ash (Ekebergia capensis) have large dark-green compound leaves which give the impression of broad leaves and are relatively fast-growing and seem to be tolerant of frost (at least around eastern parts of Pretoria where I live).

iii. It would have been easier to establish these indigenous tree species if the blue gums were still standing to provide shelter (wind & frost) and shade and then to gradually remove the blue gums as the indigenous trees become established. I am not sure whether you want to plant them as scattered individuals or as a group or a line, because all of this could determine successful establishment. If the property is big, I would plant the trees in scattered clusters with different species in a cluster.

Anyway, if you can provide me with more specific information, I can provide you with better information.

Regards
– Coert Geldenhuys


Bioenergy utilisation through forest products

2 October 2009

Question

Does bioenergy utilisation through the use of forest products have potential in South Africa?
– Kwabena Baffoe, Master Student in Forestry

Answer

Yes, there is huge potential for plantation residue (slash), as well as sawdust residue, to be used as feedstock for heat or electricity generation. This is already happening in Europe, especially Sweden, where 28% of all energy produced comes from woody biomass from forestry operations. Several forestry companies in SA are undertaking studies into using post harvest slash to generate electricity. The technology is available, and the forest slash is available, though a large percentage of it must be left behind in the plantation to protect the soil and provide nutrients. As electricity generated from coal becomes more expensive in SA, biomass will become more viable. Biomass recovered from wood and bark waste is already being used to generate thermal energy and steam to power operations at several South African pulp and paper mills. Several plants manufacturing pellets from sawdust have been set up in SA to supply energy markets overseas.

– Chris Chapman


Mechanical pitter in South Africa

1 October 2009

Question

Is there a mechanical pitter available in SA?

– Steven Dlamini, Swaziland

Answer

Yes! Stihl makes a hand-held pitter with various pitting heads. It is being tested by several growers including Sappi and Mondi. There is also a pitting machine being developed by Jaap Steenkamp of NMMU in conjunction with Sappi that will be tested later this year. I believe it makes six pits at a time.

If you want to go really big, Bracke Forests has a mechanical planter that makes the pit and drops a seedling in at the rate of around 300 seedlings per hour. I've only seen it in Sweden.
– Chris Chapman


Information on Qudco, Hyena and Bell

5 October 2011

Question

Dear sir/Madam

I am a Saasveld forestry student from Pietermaritzburg (home) requiring some info on Qudco, Hyena and Bell. I have tried digging on the net but there is the least info I could find. Please send me some links regarding info like explaining those companies harvesting heads and what makes their harv heads differ from the other brands, and also which carriers are they used upon. Remember your assistance will play a role in my qualification.

Many thanks,

– Sanele Zuma, NMMU

Answer

Come on Sanele, do you want me to do your research for you? Look at the websites, contact the manufacturers directly if necessary, ask specific questions about different heads, carriers and tasks if you want useful answers.
– Chris Chapman


Looking for a euc buyer

6 October 2011

Question

Hi I am looking for a buyer for my eucalyptus trees ± 750 000 trees, Height 3-5 m and 10-21 cm broad, mostly straight – no knots.

– William

Answer

Hi William, I don't know where you're based, but if in KZN then contact NCT tel 033-897 8500, or United Forest Products in Mpumalanga tel 013 750 1112. Alternatively contact the nearest pulp or chips mill directly (Ngodwana, Piet Retief, Ugie, Umkomaas, Richards Bay, Durban). If the trees are suitable for treated poles, then you need to contact someone like Harding Treated Timbers, or for sawtimber your nearest sawmill.

Good Luck

– Chris Chapman


Methods used for analysis

14 October 2011

Question

Hi, I am curently doing research on a topic "The response of vegetation on a mulched compartment compared to a burnt compartment" and I have been struggling with getting a sense of direction as to how to go about to do infield studies or analyses that might help with my report. I need evaluations that are practical that will help me compare the two and find the most reliable when it comes to vigorous growth on both sites.

- Sphelele, 2nd year forestry student, Saasveld.

Answer

I think the ICFR, based at the University of KZN (PmB) has done some research on that. Check out their website (see our Links page).

You might also like to liaise with Steve Glutz of Enviro Mulch (steveg@internext.co.za) he sells Ahwi mulchers and has done lots of trials in South Africa under different conditions.
- Chris Chapman


Invasive trees needed for sawmill

14 October 2011

Question

I would like to get into contact with people who would supply me with logs 2.4 to 3.1 in diameter 0.35 to 6.5. Can be pine, eucaluptus, cedar, Melanoxlin, and other invasive trees. I have a small mill requiring about 200 tons per month and I am situated in Putfontein (Benoni) and Isando (Germiston) Gauteng. This could be an opportunity for tree fellers as well as farmers who would like to add value to their timber.
- Allan Freedman

Answer

Perhaps your best bet would be to try to get in touch with small timber growers as close as possible to Putfontein, probably in Mpumalanga Lowveld (on the way to Sabie). Forestry SA (033 346 0344) might be able to help, otherwise try the Working on Water programme – they are busy removing alien vegetation and may be able to help. Otherwise this website may attract a response. What about putting notices up at your local Stihl and Husqvarna dealerships? Tthe timber contractors are in and out of there getting their chainsaws sorted.
Good luck
- Chris Chapman


Safeguarding an old Sneezewood tree

8 December 2011

Question

Good day,
I have a large Sneezewood tree on my property in Pinetown. I cannot measure the circumference of the trunk, nor the height but neighbours estimate the tree's age at something well over 50/60 years. I love the tree and want to keep it healthy, but need to know what is the average lifespan of these trees? I have noted a lot of small black ants in the bark, and I understand the tree does not easily succumb to white ants, but I want to be sure to safeguard the tree and my property from damage.

– Sheila Brown

Answer

Sneezewood (Ptaeroxylon obliquum) is quite a hardy tree but cannot deal with shade. I have seen some very big trees of over 1.2 cm stem diameter in the Amathole forests (Eastern Cape) and in the Mzimkulu forests. So they can get very old. I have also seen many smaller trees in drier areas often as scrubby, multi-stemmed trees, and they may be very old but small. In a planted stand at Kentani (between East London and Mthatha), a stand of Sneezewood was planted around 1900, and when I measured them, they were about 88 years old with the mean stem diameter of the 2000 measured trees as 10.8 cm (ranging up to about 30 cm stem diameter – the details are in the SA Forestry Magazine issue of February 2010. So the size and growth rate of this species is very dependent on the site conditions. We do not have enough growth data for this species in our long-term forest growth plots, and it is therefore difficult to cacluate the age of a tree of a specific stem diameter, but they can be very old.

Any tree under stress will be attacked by insects and fungi – if your tree is growing in a good spot with enough light from the top and with good drainage of the soil, then it could be killed easily by insects or fungi. However, often there are insects or fungi present, but maybe just use the tree as habitat and not as food source. Usually one can first notice this with the foliage when the tree is in full leaf cover (it is deciduous and may be without leaves some time of the year – dry time – you could check this from your garden). So if the endpoint of the twigs start to die back, then you could consider the tree to be suffering – but this would a secondary response to some primary effect on health of either too dense overhead tree cover of other trees or poor drainage of the soil.

– Dr Coert Geldenhuys, Forest Ecologist


Infested white stinkwood tree

10 January 2012

Question

I live in Irene (Pta) and have a mature white stinkwood in my garden. I have recently noticed cracks in the bark of some of the main and secondary branches. The wood beneath the bark seems to be dying and shrinking (due to drying out of the dead wood). The dead/dying wood is being infested by ants and wood lice. One of the long slender branches recently broke and it seemed to be dead/rotten almost right through, even though healthy leaves were still growing at the end of the branch. Please advise what might be wrong with the tree, and if you think it can be saved. I can send photo's if required. Thank you.
– Mark Leighton

Answer

Coert Geldenhuys came to see the tree, and was very helpful.
He diagnosed three problems:
1. The tree is splitting due to water trap causing rot between the main branches growing out of the trunk.
2. Water trapped in forks between the secondary branches has caused some higher branches to rot.
3. Superficial lightning damage during the lifetime of the tree has weakened the tree (though this is not serious).

He recommended fairly severe pruning to remove the dying branches. I'm not sure if we can save it, but I'll have it pruned back first, to see how much of the tree is left. The problems could have been avoided by correct pruning earlier in the tree's life.

Thanks very much for your assistance.

– Mark Leighton


Smaller type of wood debarker

29 December 2011

Question

I would like to know if there is a smaller type debarker for woods such as laths and droppers? Currently, by hand, it's just too costly (labour intensive). Please advise.
– Theo

Answer

There is a Hypro head that attaches to an ordinary tractor. It's good for smaller timber. There are a few in SA as they were distributed here a few years ago – not sure if this is still the case. They're made in Sweden I think. You should be able to check their website.

Good luck!

– Chris Chapman


Market for Eucalyptus maculata and paniculata

Question

23 January 2012

We have about 8 hectares of Eucalyptus maculata and Eucalyptus paniculata mix and then a further 8 hectares of paniculata in the Nelspruit/White River area that needs to be cleared. I am strugling to find a market for it and would appreciate any assistance or suggetions. Thank you.
– Joey Lascelles

Answer

Sappi's Ngodwana mill may be interested, otherwise you could try Bedrock Mining Support, they have a sawmill in Mpumalanga. However I'm not sure if the species meets their specs.
– Chris



Forestry database for tendering

Question

29 January 2011

How can I be registered in a forestry database for tendering and what are the requirements?
– Lihle


Answer

It depends what kind of work you're in. You would need to contact the main forestry companies yourself and make sure you know when they advertise their tenders, and get yourself registered on their supplier databases. Sappi, Mondi, KLF, York, Merensky, NCT, Bedrock etc. There is no centralised database for forestry tenders as far as I am aware. Also you could register with one of the online tender websites, like www.onlinetenders.co.za and they will keep you posted on forestry-related tenders.

– Chris Chapman


To cut down or not to cut down a yellowwood tree?

31 January 2011

Question

We are interested in buying a property, but there is a large yellowood tree in the garden, planted close to the main dwelling. It's roots have lifted the paving and we are concerned about damage to the dwelling's foundation and walls. Is it legal to cut down the tree?
– Robert Chong

Answer

Yellowwood trees are protected under the National Forests Act, 1998, as amended, and may not be cut, damaged, destroyed or disturbed without a licence granted by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (Forestry Branch) upon application in the prescribed way. The Forestry staff in the Pietermaritzburg regional office is responsible for licensing of activities regarding protected trees and must be approached for a licence, which may include an inspection of the tree before the application is granted or refused. The granting or refusal of a licence is guided by our official guidelines. The tree concerned may or may not qualify for removal in terms of those guidelines. E.g. if a tree is within one metre of a building, it can be cut. If not, and, the roots of the tree are threatening the foundations, such roots can be identified and cut at a certain point close to the building and sealed off to prevent it from growing again in that direction. A small furrow is normally sufficient to do the work, and it can be covered again. Also for such an activity a licence has to be granted, as the root is part of the tree. Paving that is lifted is mostly due to the paving being laid too close to the trunk. Paving should be kept away from the trunk, depending on the thickness of the tree, at least one metre, preferably more, to enable the tree roots to interact with the environment with regard to air, water and nutrients. The problem is that the paving is inflexible whereas the tree roots are growing larger all the time, especially close to the trunk, and therefore the paving is lifted. Lifting of paving by tree roots by itself is not a valid reason for granting a licence to remove a tree.

Especially in the time of global climate change experienced by all of us, and where trees have a mitigating influence on the effects thereof, we would discourage trees like this one to be removed, as urban environments are increasingly becoming concrete jungles, exacerbating the effects of climate change. This is an important additional reason for protecting these trees in urban environments.

I have copied this e-mail to my colleague in PMB, Wiseman Rozani, who will attend to your enquiry.

Kind regards

– Theo Stehle, Forestry Scientific/Technical Support, DAFF


Who is in charge of pulp and paper?

24 February 2012

Question:

Can you please tell me the Government department which governs the Pulp and Paper industry? Is it department of forestry?Department of Environmental affairs?
– Meshack

Answer:

The pulp and paper industry would fall primarily under the Department of Trade and Industry. However P & P gets its raw materials from forestry, so that aspect would fall under the Dept. Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries.
– Chris Chapman

 


Transplanting a yellowwood tree

27 February 2012

Question:

Can I successfully transplant a 3m high yellowwood tree?

– Linda Milne

Answer:

It is possible to transplant Yellowood trees. Best conditions for transplanting are cooler months (June/July) because there's no active growth and most of the sap is in the root ball. Ideally dig a trench 1.5 m from stem all the way round, to get as much root ball as possible, transplant into a new hole immediately and water ASAP. There is no guarantee – depends on how it is done. Thereafter water regularly twice a week.

– Billy Blackbeard, iDube Landscaping


To trim or not to trim a stinkwood?

28 February 2012

Question:

We have a huge white stinkwood tree in our garden. We would like to get it trimmed, but have heard that we should not as it is bad for the tree. The tree is about 40-years-old already and stand fairly close to the pool. We just don't want the roots to eventually crack the pool. I just really want to know if I can trim it or not?
– Maine

Answer:

There are 2 species of stinkwood that are often confused: Celtis africana - (indigenous); dull darkish green hairy leaf. Celtis chinensis - exotic (non indigenous species); smooth shiny lighter green leaf.

Stinkwoods grow quickly and up to 30m, so its not an ideal tree close to pools, although it makes beautiful shade. If it's already 40-years-old, however, it would probably have done all damage its going to do, already.

There is no harm in pruning trees and trees often thrive after being pruned, especially of old dead and rotten branches. Pruning is an art in itself, but really isn't that difficult.

There are very good quality saws available called "Silky saws" with light weight extension poles 3m or 6m (like a pool cleaner), these are very sharp and avoid climbing, which is usually perilous, and are excellent for pruning branches and palm fronds etc.

When removing a big branch, don't try and remove a huge 6m piece in one go; cut off smaller pieces from the tip end first.

When cutting a branch, always first cut 1/8 -1/4 through the under side of the branch. (This stops the bark from tearing and causing an ugly scar, which can cause infection and die-back), then complete the cut from the top.

Try to make the final cut as close to the main trunk as possible to avoid leaving a nub, then the bark will grow over and it won't be noticeable in a year's time.

Paint over the wound with "Tree Seal" which stops pathogens and insects burrowing into the wood.

– Billy Blackbeard, iDube Landscaping


Laws protecting trees older than 100 years

23 February 2012

Question:

Please advise whether there are any laws that protects trees older than a hundred years old? Tree is marked by a plaque from Edenvale Museum Society, no longer in existance. Planted around 1902 Oak Tree.
– Bill Rundle (DA Ward Councillor In Ekurhuleni)

Answer:

The National Forests Act provides for the protection of specific individual trees, groups of trees (indigenous and exotic), indigenous tree species, and specific woodlands. Under this provision the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has nationally declared already over sixty individual trees and groups of trees, both indigenous and exotic, of exceptional size, age, and other associated characteristics, to be "national champion trees". Historical significance and age are not primary characteristics in this system, but if people are of opinion that there are outstanding trees regarding size, age, and cultural historical significance on a national scale, such trees may be nominated. In this regard Mr. Izak van der Merwe can be contacted in the DAFF office in Pretoria, at: IzakVDM@daff.gov.za. However, trees that have significance mainly regarding their cultural historical characteristics, would fall more within the ambit of the South African Heritage Resources Act, under which trees of significance can be declared as cultural historical monuments, conforming to certain criteria.

– Theo Stehle, DAFF


Is there a market for Wild Olive trees?

1 March 2012

Question:

I am a farmer in the Northern Cape. Currently I am busy clearing out farm borders and it some times may happen that a Wild Olive tree is being pushed out by the buldozer. Is there a market for these types of wood and where do I look?
– Wiaan Beeslaar

Answer:

Apparently wild olive is a beautiful wood, but tends to be a bit gnarled. Its good for rustic furniture, carving etc. Try Jock McConnachie at Timber Village in Knysna (044 382 5649 email jock@timbervillage.co.za) or Andy Stoker at Rarewoods (044 382 6576) or Woodmans (tel 044 382 5408)
– Chris Chapman, SA Forestry magazine


Do I or don’t I sell our forest property?

14 May 2012

Question:

My family owns a small portion of a forest in KZN which they cannot afford to maintain. Would it be adviseble to sell? If I do sell, who do I sell to, and where do I start?

– Simphiwe Mlaba

Answer:

Is it a planted forest, or a natural forest? Is it privately owned land with title deeds, or is it communal land? Where is it? What is the size of the forest and what age and species are the trees? All these questions need to be answered before we could offer our opinion on whether you should sell or not. If they are plantation trees, eg wattle, pine or gum, you may be able to sell the timber without having to sell the land.

– Chris Chapman, Editor


The biggest euc ever recorded

15 May 2012

Question:

I would like to find out what the circumference is of the biggest blue gum tree recorded.

– Wonda Wilson

Answer:

Some of the biggest gum trees ever recorded grow in South Africa - not their native Australia. There is a red river gum in Stellenbosch with a trunk circumference of 9.7 metres. It is 38 m high and has a crown spread of 40 m.

The 'Twin Giants of Magoebaskloof" in Limpopo, at 79 m high and 78.5 m high, are the tallest planted trees in South Africa, and possibly in the world. They are Eucalyptus saligna trees.

There is a eucalyptus tree in Senekal in the Free State with a trunk circumference of over 8 metres. All of these trees have been declared 'Champion Trees' and are protected.

For more info about giant trees contact Izak van der Merwe at izakvdm@nda.agric.za

– Chris Chapman


Selling pine from a property

7 May 2012

Question:

I wonder if you could assist me? I have 12 pine trees that I would like removed from my property in KZN (Durban area). Are there any logging companies that would want the trees?

– Dennis Lutge

Answer:

If the trees are big and straight you may be able to sell them to a sawmill. Try Pringle sawmill 031 777 1044 or Steinhoff sawmilling 031 579 6300. If they are not interested, you could try selling them as standing trees on Gumtree. There are quite a few DIY mobile sawmills around who cut trees and utilise the wood.

– Chris Chapman


Fast-growing indigenous trees

15 May 2012

Question:
Could you please advise me which fastgrowing indigenous tree will be the best to plant in Fochville/Carletonville Area, NW Province?

– J Ekkerd

Answer:

I used the book of Keith Coates Palgrave (Trees of Southern Africa) to get a list of species that may occur in the Fochville-Carltonville area. Remember that 'fast growth' is a relative term. I do not know your area very well but I have travelled along the nearby road to Potchefstroom. The specific site where you want to plant the trees will also determine whether the trees I will suggest below can grow there. You did not mention frost as a possible constraint. The following indigenous tree species that potentially grow naturally in your area are:

White stinkwood – Celtis africana
Willow beechwood – Faurea saligna
Common hook thorn – Acacia caffra
Camel thorn – Acacia erioloba
Sweet thorn – Acacia karroo
Karee – Rhus lancea
Rock karee – Rhus leptodictya
Jacket plum – Pappea capensis
Buffalo thorn - Ziziphus mucronata
Wild peach – Kiggelaria africana
Red bush willow – Combretum apiculatum
River bush willow – Combretum erythrophyllum
Silver cluster leaf – Terminalia sericea
African olive – Olea europaea africana
False olive – Buddleja saligna
Camphor bush – Tarchonanthus camphoratus

You are welcome to contact me if you have more questions.

Best wishes and I trust that you will find species suitable for your area.

– Coert Geldenhuys

Comment by J Ekkerd on 18 May:

Hi there, the area is situated in kuruman, northern cape province, in the green Kalahari. The ground does contain quite a lot of dolomite rockbeds. Warm summers and the occasional frost, we have a lot of camelthorn trees in this area.- Hope the above provide more details to you on my query. Thank you for the reply on my mail.

Comment by Coert Geldenhuys on 18 May:

Thanks Jack,

The reference to Kuruman definitely helps a lot. I know that area, and the list of species I provided fits with that area. I suggest that you try to look at what species people have planted there fits with your requirements and the list I have provided. Just keep in mind that some of those 'good' species may be introduced species, even though they may be indigenous to South Africa. The species I listed, indigenous to your area, are better adapted to your area, and can survive better when you do experience extreme dry conditions, without regular watering.






Hairy worms

16 May 2012

Question:

Would you know what type of hairy worm one gets on the Combretum erythrophyllum?

– Hennie

Answer:

It is not possible for me to say based on such a broad description, as there are many 'hairy worms'. It could possibly be a larvae in the family Lymantriidae or Lasiocampidae. I good photo of the worm / larvae may help for identification, although even then it is very difficult to identify moths / butterflies without the adult stage. But, if they have a photo they can email it to me and hopefully I will be able to assist.

– Brett Hurley


Trees restricting sunlight

20 May 2012

Question:
My neighbour's yellowood trees are restricting sunlight on my residence to ±2.5 hours per day. Having mildew problems too – clothing % bedding always damp. What steps should I take?

– Allan Shirley

Answer:

I suggest you discuss with your neighbour and try to find a solution. Yellowwood trees are a protected species, so permission has to be obtained from the Dept Agriculture Forestry & Fisheries to get it removed. See the info from Theo Stehle of DAFF below, which was given in answer to a previous question on this website.

– Chris Chapman


Is E. grandis still worth planting?

21 May 2012

Question:

Is E. grandis still worth planting although the yield is less per hectare compared to other species and although grandis has a higher risk against pests and diseases? Do the amount of poles from a grandis plantation make up for those cons? we are also much closer to a mill that only takes grandis so transport costs would be a lot less if we continued with grandis. But would it still be favorable to continue planting grandis?

– Eddy Oellermann

Answer:

E. grandis is still an important species for the timber industry, however in recent years we have observed increasing levels of damage in compartments. Bacterial blight (Panotea ananatis) often causes reduced growth rates in young blocks and the gall wasp (Leptocybe invasa) is starting to damage coppice and seedling compartments planted at lower altitudes. There are also a number of pests and diseases that are causing damage to this species in other parts of the world and some of these are likely to reach our shores in the next few years. It would be a good idea to spread risk by planting some areas to other species/hybrids. For pole markets, the GU (grandis x urophylla) hybrids developed by the CSIR and NCT have been shown to have suitable characteristics (form, splitting and penetration). These hybrids are suitable for frost free sites with moderate to deep soils.

– Craig Norris, NCT


A contract to deliver logs

23 May 2012

Question:

I have a 14 ton lock carrier. I am in the Kokstad area, and see the trucks loading logs from the forest. I would like to know how to apply to get a contract with Mondi to pull the logs. My truck is a 2009 model, Mercedes Axor. Who do I speak to?

– Mohamed Shaik

Answer:

There are a number of forestry companies active in that area, including Mondi, Sappi and Merensky, as well as private farmers. The big companies put their timber transport contracts out to tender, so you would have to apply that way. Tenders are usually advertised in the local newspapers - otherwise phone the Procurement Managers. Mondi - (033) 8974000; Sappi - (033) 3476600; Merensky - 039 553 0401; NCT - (033) 8978500. Alternatively talk to the local foresters, maybe you could start by helping them out when they're in a jam! Also you could contact private timber farmers / sawmills in the area because they don't have to go through a tender process. Good luck!
– Chris Chapman

 


The Drosophila Flavohirte fly

1 June 2012

Question:

The Drosophila Flavohirte fly is causing low honey flows in Eucalyptus plantations. Can the wasp to control D. Flavohirte not be link to the introduction of the wasp to control Leptocybe invasa?

– Fred Bence

Answer:

I am not familiar with the fly referred to, but one of the major criteria to releasing biocontrol agents is that they are host specific, hence it is HIGHLY unlikely that the biocontrol agent for L. invasa would have any affect on this fly.

– Brett Hurley


Sawmills in Mpumalanga

13 June 2012

Question:

I need sawmills in Mpumalanga, limpopo for 114x25x3.6m and 50x76x3.6m and 102x25x3.6m.

– Jaco Potgieter

Answer:

My advice is to contact Joey Lascalles or the marketing manager at United Forest Products in Nelspruit. They find markets for timber in Mpumalanga, Swaziland and Limpopo. Her email is joeyl@ufproducts.co.za. Tel 013 750 1112.

Good Luck!

– Chris Chapman


Convert cubic metres to metric tonnes

12 June 2012

Question:

I would like to convert a cubic metre (m³) of pine round wood to metric tonnes.

– Misheck Chesa

Answer:

Measure the stack of timber and express this volume in m³ and then multiply by .62 to allow for the air spaces and this will give the number of tons (assuming 1 ton pine pulpwood = 1 m³).
– Dave Dobson, Forestry Consultant


Information for new nursery

19 June 2012

Question:

I would appreciate it if you can contact me with regards to the start of the new project/nursery

•  400 000 seedlings per year
•  Space
•  Water reservoir Liquid Fertilizer
•  Eucalyptus Grandis.


I have no information on this and we need to start the project with the best knowledge and experience with regards to the above.

Paradise Falls is 2 011 ha and we need to start our own breeding of seedlings.

– Mariaan Crafford

Answer:

Please contact the Seedling Growers Association of SA on www.seedlinggrowers.co.za.
– Chris Chapman


Wanted: 14-ton contract around Nelspruit

20 June 2012

Question:
Am looking for a 14-ton contract and am staying around Nelspruit, so I don't know where to go so I can get the contract. If you do have some contact details, please provide me with them.

– Lunga

Answer:

You're going to have to contact local timber grower companies, like Bedrock, Sappi, KLF, York etc, or try Etienne at United Forest Products, tel 013 750 1112. Good luck.
– Chris Chapman


Generating income from an alien crop

22 June 2012

Question:

I am buying a farm in the Groot-Marico district. However, black wattle, about 20 ha, is also on the farm. If I want to generate an income from this pest, treefelling, debarking, (charcoal?), what equipment would I need? Can you also give me the approximate cost of the machinery and would it be a viable operation?

– Stef

Answer:

The viability of this operation depends on two things: can you find a market for the timber close by (the cost of transport can make it uneconomical); what tonnage you can get out of the plantation, which depends on age, spacing, uniformity of timber etc. So, first find a market (try Etienne Baker at United Forest Products – 013 750 1112), and then calculate roughly how much timber you can get out of a hectare. If its a good plantation with 10-year-old trees, you could get 122 tons per hectare. A manual harvesting operation requires minimal equipment: a good chainsaw or two for felling, a Bell logger for loading (or by hand) and an ordinary tractor-trailer to get the timber to a roadside depot. If you find a local charcoal manufacturer, he might buy the standing timber and do all the harvesting and transport for you. Good luck.
– Chris Chapman

 


Names of timber logging transporters wanted

27 June 2012

Question:

Where can I get the names of timber logging transporters? I manufacture trailers and would like to find out from them if they are interested in logging trailers.

– Richard Rooskrantz

Answer:

I don't know of a database for timber transporters, but here's a few names off the top of my head for starters: Timber Logistics (Umkomaas, KZN), Andersons Transport, Gaskells (Zululand), CBC Transport (Piet Retief 082 493 1176), Steenekamp Vervoer (Pt Retief 017 826 4932), Zabalaza (Pmb), MA Transport (Zululand).
– Chris Chapman


Is it legal to cut down a protected tree on my property?

24 June 2012

Question:

Would it be legal to copice a protected tree which I have planted on my own property? eg. Yellowood. I would like to produce small carvings using indigenous woods. Also, what is the law regarding the usefulness of windfalls from such trees?

– Hazel Large

Answer:

I am not quite sure what Hazel means by “would it be legal to coppice a protected tree planted on my property”.   Coppice shoots result from certain tree species being able to sprout from their stumps after the tree has been felled / cut.  Generally conifers don’t coppice, but there are exceptions.  Yellowwood isn’t known to coppice.  Does Hazel mean “would it be legal to cut / fell a planted yellowwood tree to utilize the wood of the cut tree for making carvings, if it is allowed to coppice and through that replace the original trunk?”  If so, I have to inform her that she needs to apply for a licence to cut the tree, irrespective of whether it coppices or not.  We cannot make a distinction between planted and naturally grown protected trees, as in an area where a certain protected species occurs naturally, it is sometimes impossible to distinguish whether the tree was planted, or whether it had occurred naturally before the area was developed.  Our guidelines for licensing however do not make provision for a licence to be granted in such a case unless the tree poses a problem to the property.

If such trees have been blown over by wind, the wood can be used, but also in this case a licence from Forestry is needed.  The licence should not be refused in a case where the tree has no further use as a tree.  The reason for protecting even planted protected trees in built up environments (I assume this is a built up environment), is that people are too easily willy-nilly cutting down nice specimens of protected tree species that have been growing for many years within minutes, whereas these trees will probably outlive several generations of people living on the premises.  The owner succeeding the present owner may have wanted to keep such a tree and is now robbed of it.

I trust that this will be of assistance.

– Theo Stehle, Forestry Scientific/Technical Support, DAFF


Where do Yellowwoods grow in the E.Cape?

6 July 2012

Question:

Where in the eastern Cape do yellowwood trees grow?

– Nikki Venter

Answer:

There are three yellowwood species growing in the Eastern Cape. Podocarpus latifolius (Real yellowwood nr 18), Afrocarpus falcatus (Outeniqua yellowwood nr 16) and Podocarous henkellii (Henkel's yellowwood nr 17). The first two occur along the Eastern Cape Coast in various areas where there is better forest development, and particularly Outeniqua yellowwood along the river valleys, and sometimes even drier river valleys (see SA Forestry Magazine of April 2012). Both these species occur in the inland mountains, from Suurberg via Amathole mountains to the Matiwane mountains inland from Mthatha, where they are joind by Henkel's yellowwood, and then all the way to KwaZulu-Natal.

– Coert Geldenhuys, Forest Ecologist & Associate Professor, Dept. Forest & Wood Science, University of Stellenbosch


Finding buyers for eucs and wattle

10 July 2012

Question:

We have hectares of natural forests of gumtrees and wattle in the Eastern Cape. We need to generate income from it. Can we get people who will help us to cut and buy them?

– Kgomotso Masebelanga

Answer:

Gum trees and wattles are not indigenous trees, they are alien trees used in commercial plantation forestry. Get hold of local pole manufacturers, or else try Stephen Keet from Asgisa EC (082 578 7517; stephen@keet.co.za) or Tony Mitchell from Sappi (082 329 5319). Natural forests are protected and cannot be harvested or cleared without a special permit from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, so make sure you know the difference.
– Chris Chapman, SA Forestry


Preventing viruses in plantations

Question:

25 July 2012

I have a gumtree plantation and there are viruses going around. How can I prevent my plantation from being affected by these viruses?

– Happy Mchunu

Answer:

Contact Brett Hurley or one of the team members at Fabi at the University of Pretoria, to find out about the pests and diseases that affect eucalyptus (gum) trees. Brett: 012 420 3938. Email brett.hurley@fabi.up.ac.za. Visit www.fabinet.up.ac.za
– Chris Chapman


Should I remove a tall pine tree in my front garden?

Question

27 July 2012

I bought a house recently that has a huge pine tree in the front garden. It could be more than 30 metres high. The tree is about 5 metres from the house. Im concerned that the roots could affect the foundation. The previous owner said that he never had a problem with the tree affecting the foundation and he lived there for over 10 years. Do I have a need for concern here? Or should I just remove the tree?

– Hudaa Croeser

Answer

Pines are not known for developing destructive root systems, so five metres from the house should be OK. But of more concern would be the possibility of it being knocked over by a BIG wind, which would be more likely if it followed a heavy rain which made the ground around the tree root soft. I have seen big pines get knocked over by a big gust of wind during rain storms. If this happens your house may be in danger if it fell in that direction. It's unlikely, but possible. Why not remove the tree and plant a yellowwood!
– Chris Chapman


Arboriculture training opportunities

Question:

2 August 2012

I ran a Arboriculture practicing tree service in Johannesburg for 23 years. I have recently qualified as a Arborist with a certificate 3 in Arboriculture and a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessing under the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF). I want get involved in training back in RSA, because I am passionate about trees and tree related issues, and want to inspire people, and wondered if I could get some advice from you panel expert?

– John Parker

Answer:

I am more involved in forestry than arboriculture so I can't say I know a lot about that business, but what I have noticed is that there is a growing interest in trees and tree care - particularly indigenous trees - in South Africa, and I don't think there is a lot of expertise in the field. This means there are opportunities. The vast majority of questions I get asked through the website relate to trees and their use in landscaping. I know that the chainsaw companies, Stihl and Husqvarna, do a lot of training in this field so that would be a good place to start making enquiries. There is also a big emphasis on training chainsaw operators for tree felling in commercial forestry. Good luck!

– Chris Chapman


Bursaries for forestry students?

Question:

1 August 2012

I am a first year student at the University of Stellenbosch, studying BScFor (Wood Products Science). I would like to apply for a bursary. Do you know of any organisation that would give out bursaries?

– Gert Brink

Answer:

Best try the big forestry companies, Sappi, Mondi, Merensky, York, MTO, KLF, PG Bison and Masonite. Surely the student advisor at the university could point you in the right direction?
– Chris Chapman


Self-loading trailers for charcoal

Question:

8 August 2012

I am looking for suppliers of self-loading trailors for transporting charcoal timber.

Answer:

Try 600SA tel 0861160072; www.600sa.co.za or Unicab tel +27 35 474 2959; email admin@ztw.co.za.

– Chris Chapman


Can Pine yield the same MAI as Gum?

Question:

29 August 2012

Is it possible for Pine to yield the same MAI as Gum, on the same site, assuming optimal thinning and pruning of the Pine? If not, is there a general rule of thumb as to what the drop is?

– William Anderson

Answer:

In the case of Eucs, we talk of MAI(10) of say 16 on a good site. This tells us that on a particular site the eucs will yield 160 tons at age 10.

In the case of Pine, we talk of MAI(20) of say 18 on a good site. This tells us that on this particular site pine will yield 360 m³ by year 20. This includes the thinnings. One could then argue that in 20 years (two euc cycles) the site will yield 320 tons of eucalyptus in comparison to the 360 m³ of pine. To complicate the matter a little more one m³ of pine sawlogs has a mass of 1.06 tons.

MAI is often used in a very loose fashion and one needs to be careful that the reference age is actually as intended (either 10 or 20 depending on the genus).

There is no rule of thumb it depends on the site. That is why guys like Mart Herbert can make a living consulting!

– Dave Dobson


Do you need a sawmill permit?

Question:

24 August 2012

Hi! I live inthe rural areas of the Eastern Cape and would like to know about how to get a sawmill permit here in South Africa.

– Sibusiso

Answer:

As far as I am aware, you don't need a permit to operate a sawmill. However, the site would have to be suitable for the operation of a sawmill, for instance zoned for industrial purposes. You'd get into trouble with the local municipality if it was in a residential area. So check on the zoning and go for it. However you will need to be able to get a reliable supply of timber to saw, and that I think is a big challenge.
– Chris Chapman

 

 

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