Wine Estates Join Hospitality Businesses in Tree Planting Initiative

Lourensford Road in Somerset West is set to become a beautiful, tree-lined avenue, following an ambitious planting programme undertaken by the Heart of the Helderberg Initiative, and led by Vergelegen and Lourensford wine estates.

The avenue had lost established trees due to heavy storms, with further losses incurred after infestation by the polyphagous shot-hole borer beetle, which tunnels into trunks, stems and branches.

Horticultural teams from both properties were hard at work on Tuesday 11 June, making maximum use of a mechanical digger, and water provided in farm tankers to establish the saplings.

Lourensford supplied 215 water pear trees (Syzygium guineese) and white stinkwoods (Celtus Sinesys), as well as earthworm compost generated on the farm,  said the estate’s horticulturist Casper Geldenhuys. Vergelegen provided the digger, said Vergelegen gardens manager Richard Arm.

Garden teams from both estates eagerly joined forces, bringing their enthusiasm and expertise to the tree-planting effort.

Arm and Geldenhuys emphasised the enterprise was a joint initiative for the benefit of the Somerset West community, with the approval and support of Phumzile Tyandela from the City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department.

The trees line the road for 600 metres, from the Shell fuel station to the Somerset West Croquet Club.

Green Cape Timbers, situated at Lourensford, supplied wooden stakes to support the trees. Snacks and assistance were provided by the Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa,  Erinvale Golf Estate, The Aleit Group and Ghenwa’s Culinary Club.

Water pears are indigenous, provide deep shade, and can grow to a height of 10 to 15 metres. Their root system is not invasive, which suits urban conditions. They are also resistant to adverse weather conditions and the borer beetle. Winter is suitable for planting as the trees can establish themselves and settle ahead of the growing season.

Lourensford and Vergelegen will continue to maintain and water the trees, but the public are encouraged to participate in caring for the saplings too.

“It’s great to be part of a community initiative to beautify our town. You can never plant too many trees,” said Arm.

The Lourensford team included Albert Ntsamai, Luyanda Yalezo, Tshireletso Tsautse, Patrick Notshele, Xolelwa Nongindzi, Sam Mlungu, Sam Ramabele, Mboneni Gwadu, Mbongeni Cimela, Fubo Mazajama and Casper Geldenhuys.

The Vergelegen team comprised junior horticulturist Scott Mpondo, gardens manager Richard Arm, Kolisa Samnkele, Suphokuhle Mputa, Bradley Josephs, Asiphe Wowo, and Jason October.

Heart of the Helderberg is a collective of leading Somerset West hospitality establishments, working together to support local enterprises and raise awareness of the quality and variety of offerings available in this beautiful area, less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

Heart of the Helderberg members are Vergelegen, Lourensford, Morgenster, Erinvale Estate Hotel & Spa and Erinvale Golf Estate.