There is nothing better than spending summers in the garden in the shade of a well-established tree. There are many trees that grow quickly, don’t require large amounts of water and are considered to be perfect for creating shade in your garden. There are also quite a large number of trees that you are not allowed to grow.
In October of 2016 the latest Invasive Species Lists regulations as per the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of 2004 (NEMBA) were written into law, replacing any earlier lists. This act provides the framework, norms and standards for the conservation, sustainable use and equitable benefit-sharing of South Africa’s biological resources. The NEMBA lists are managed and updated by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). Be sure to plant none of these trees as they will have to be removed and you may even be obligated to pay hefty fines for having them.
A complete list of the 2016 NEMBA invasive species list can be found here: https://goo.gl/2g5Y5F
On the up side, there are a number of indigenous (South African) trees which can be planted to provide shade in one’s garden. Some are named below:
The Karee (Searsia lancea) occurs in all of South Africa’s provinces except for KwaZulu-Natal. It has a natural low-branching habit and produces multiple stems from ground level and can be pruned into a single-stemmed tree. It has a softly rounded crown and a graceful, weeping form. It is good for smaller gardens as it does not have an aggressive root system. It is hardy to the elements and fast-growing, requires little water and is evergreen. It has small greenish-yellow flowers and attracts wonderful birdlife.
The White Ironwood (Vepris lanceolata) is a truly beautiful evergreen tree. The wood is hard, heavy and strong and the leaves have a lemony fragrance to them. It is one of the best choices for small gardens and varies in height depending on climate. Its root system is not aggressive and it grows well in containers. It can be kept to any size as it responds well to pruning. It grows along the coastline from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape and in KwaZulu Natal. It is also found in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, northern Gauteng and the north-eastern section of the North-West province.
The White Pear (Apodytes dimidiate) is a small, evergreen tree, which has non-invasive roots, and bright green leaves. It is an excellent choice for a shade tree because it provides deep shade throughout the year, it responds well to pruning and makes a good hedge. The small, white flowers open in summer and are fragrant and pollinated by bees. The flowers are followed by attractive fruits, which are favoured by many birds including but not limited to Rameron Pigeons, Pied Barbets, Black-eyed Barbets and Black-eyed Barbuls. The tree is said to ward off evil and is thus valued by the Zulu people. It is also medicinal because an infusion of the root bark is used as an enema for intestinal parasites. The wood is often used for making furniture, floors and rifle stocks. The leaves are boiled and used as a pot herb and eaten with porridge or used in the treatment of ear inflammation.
The False Olive (Buddleja saligna) is a very hardy, evergreen tree which can be found in many areas throughout Southern Africa. It is drought resistant with silver-grey leaves and bears sweetly scented white flowers from August to January. It has an attractive shape and makes one of the most attractive trees for a small garden. With a growth expectancy usually ranging from 2 to 7 meters, it thrives in even the most volatile conditions and is perfect for a water-wise garden. It attracts birds, bees and moths. It has small flowers and seeds and has fairly thinly textured leaves and provides a light shade throughout the year.