Vergelegen’s tree planting programme for a greener future


Vergelegen shelters a vast array of trees within its 60-hectare cultural heritage area. Some outstanding specimens date back centuries, such as an Outeniqua yellowwood, a hollow old English oak, an ancient white mulberry, and five enormous camphor trees in front of the homestead, which were proclaimed national monuments in 1942.

Nature, however, is in a constant state of flux. The destructive polyphagous shot hole borer beetle infests trees with a fungus, which eventually kills them. Vergelegen’s trees are also under siege from strong winds –gale-force winds toppled 78 trees in April 2024 alone.

To counter this destruction, and in line with its ethos of sustainability, management has committed to planting 1000 trees annually, mainly in the estate arboretum, and also in the garden and other areas where fallen trees need to be replaced.

Vergelegen formally unveiled plans in 2021 to create this vast 54-hectare arboretum in a phased approach. Before this announcement, the horticultural team began clearing and preparing the land in 2017, and started planting an initial section with 1216 trees from 2019. 

Three 45-meter-wide vistas in the form of a triangle form the core of the arboretum. The combined length of the vistas is 2,5km and each vista is lined with double row plantings of liquidambar, yellowwood and swamp cypress trees.

The focus is currently on milkwood, yellowwood, water oak and other species that have proved their resistance to strong winds and the shot hole borer beetle.

Visitors can already stroll around this vast area, which will offer a variety of footpaths and walking trails. A 3,5 km walkway encircles the arboretum, allowing visitors access to various sections. 

The arboretum has beautiful views of the Hottentots Holland and Helderberg Mountains, and is a transition space between the cultivated and natural landscapes.

Staff at Vergelegen are committed to this ambitious project and every employee has already planted their own tree in the arboretum.

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