Cape Peninsula & Boland
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Our Elephant tree’s rescue and relocation

Once upon a time, nestled in the picturesque Stellenbosch town, stood a giant, indigenous White Stinkwood tree. It had grown tall and proud and was admired by many tree huggers.


Back in 2012, the tree was facing a certain death, when the tree needed to make way for a new residential development. We at Trees SA could not let this happen to such a special specimen, and rescued the tree and brought it to our nursery for rehabilitation.


It recovered well and soon became a part of our family. We named it the Elephant tree as its growth pattern and distinctive trunk looks like the legs of an Elephant of the Knysna forest.


Our Elephant tree was adored by many until one special client decided to give it a permanent home. We were delighted to hear that it would spread its roots right in the same town it originally came from! De Zalze just outside Stellenbosch is a lovely golf estate and we’re confident that it will be well looked after and can grow another 100 years in peace.


The technical aspect of successfully rescuing, nursing and then installing such a large specimen is quite involved and requires all the skill and experience we’ve built up throughout the years.


To rescue the tree, a 7 ton root ball was prepared and a 75 tonner crane truck was used to lift this heavy giant onto the truck. Neatly wrapped up and travelling on the R44 in Stellenbosch, we turned quite a few heads on the way to the nursery.


For the past 5 years, the tree recovered wonderfully in our nursery by receiving sufficient water, pruning, weeding, multivitamins and lots and lots of love.


At the end of 2017, the day arrived for us to finally plant it in its new home. We carefully loaded it again with the 75 tonner crane truck and made the journey into De Zalze in Stellenbosch. There, we prepared a 3 x 3 metre planting hole, and carefully navigated the construction site. The bag was cut, the root ball securely planted, and the tree staked for stabilization in the stormy South-Easter winds.


The Elephant is still a patient of ours, and we will continue to visit and assess the tree’s progress until it has established itself and become independent.


We’re sure it will bring lots of shade, joy, birdsong and children’s laughter to many more generations to come.


There is a short video clip of this magnificent tree on our Facebook page. Click here to view.

tree rescue; tree relocation
A compilation of our Elephant tree's movements



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