Residents of Tzaneen traveling along Circle Drive would have noticed the developments happening at the vacant piece of land next to Unicorn Preparatory School. This site is earmarked for a housing development and initially came to a halt in 2019 after Bulletin reported on an indigenous Yellow wood that was cut down by one of the sub-contractors.
After the Limpopo Economic Development, Environment and Tourism department (LEDET) stepped in, the matter was resolved, and development could continue. This week, one of Tzaneen’s most experienced forestry experts Butch Baker, invited Bulletin along on Monday afternoon the 24th of May when he and a team from Busy Bee Garden Services were felling trees at the site. Most of the trees were thorn trees that are commonly found in the lowveld, and of course, there were the thirsty blue gum trees.
“People would be amazed at how much water a single blue gum tree consumes on average to grow to its full potential,” Baker remarked. According to him, some of these old blue gum trees are estimated to between 15 and 20 years old, and some of these trees were towering up to 30 meters into the sky.
The stumps of some of these old timers measured around five metres in diameter. Tree felling is a dangerous operation and encompasses a lot more than just grabbing a chainsaw and cutting down a tree. Baker and his fellow tree fellers first had to establish the direction the tree would need to fall in so that it did not cause any damage to any surrounding infrastructure or endanger the lives of people.
Then one of the team members must climb as high as possible to the top of the tree to bind a rope around the stump. The other side of this rope is then attached to the back of an earth moving machine, in this case a bulldozer. This is to help with the direction of the fall when the tree is being cut. The tree fellers employed the services of a much larger than average sized chainsaw especially designed for felling giants. The operation on of these trees took less than hour to complete.