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Monday, April 14, 2014

History of the Borrowdale Road Trees

In the early 1920s a gentleman named Power bought a sub-division of Borrowdale Estate which he named Dungarvan after the town in Ireland which is a centre for the Power clan – anyone who has visited it will vouch that just about every shop and business bears the name of Power.  The property was about 250 acres in extent on either side of the Borrowdale Road stretching roughly from where the traffic lights are now to Dungarvan Close – n.b. the name has been misspelt as Dungarvon on a number of the street signs.  At the time of the purchase the family was living in a house on Third Street which ran without obstruction from North Avenue to Manica Road (in old money).  The road was used by farm wagons bringing maize to the mill on Manica Road and, as it was not tarred, the result was a lot of dust in the house.  When Mrs Power found out that the new property was next to a farm road she insisted that  trees should be planted to provide a dust screen.  The remains of the screen is the line of cypresses between the traffic lights and Garth Road on the west side of the road.  I can’t vouch for the others along Dungarvan West Road or on the opposite side of the road.  The fact that they were planted as a screen explains why the trees are so close together and their size by the fact that they were planted about 90 years ago. Best wishes David   


It is not for firewood, the timber is being used for cheap pine furniture, roof trusses, children’s toy houses etc. When these so called loggers come to cut down these Fir/Pine trees, they are cutting them in lengths of 4,5 or 6 meters. It is cheaper to cut down the trees in Harare then procure the trees in Nyanga (wattle)


The fir trees, or Cyprus trees are REGULARLY blow down in strong winds. I recall a few years back when some unlucky individuals had to be cut out of the car they were travelling in along Carrick Creagh Road when a Cyprus fell on them. Those trees along that road have now been sensibly removed. It seems the Cyprus trees just have root structures too shallow for our rich red soils, maybe these trees are indigenous to places where the rocks bind the roots or maybe there are never any strong winds there, but they really do not cope with the thunderstorm winds have here. The wood seems to very brittle too, often the tress snap off in the wind.  The other species growing in Harare generally do much better, certainly our indigenous trees do.


As for bird life, I have never seen any bird, or any other animal, nest in these trees, I will go check on the claim about herons, but I suspect those are eucalyptus trees. Certainly the odd crow sits at the top and I can imagine that eagles also perch there, but we are not really that short of other perches. As for the effect these trees have on the soil beneath them, anyone who has tried to grow their garden beneath one will testify to the impact of the strong resin in the leaves. I doubt this will be of much importance to most of your readers, but do any of you remember climbing these trees as a kid? They are horrible for climbing; sticky, scratchy and no-where good to sit and rest! I propose that everyone who has a Cyprus (or Fir if you like) tree that is tall enough to fall onto a powerline or a public road, be required to shorten the tree or remove it.  L


I understand that Jacarandas may not be planted in Jozi any longer. Their root system  is vast and pervasive. p


I know how sad some may be to see the trees being cut down, but lets replace them right away with beautiful indigenous trees. Some Acacias perhaps which our urban wild life might enjoy and take refuge in (bush babys etc). Trees are important especially to the people that live there as they can be used to block out the noise from the busy road. So unfortunately out with the dangerous old and in with some colourful new indigenous trees :) Kind regards Zim Flora Fan


Can anyone recommend a reputable Tree Doctor? This would be useful information for a lot of us who would like to be erudite but actually don't have a clue! One Mouse



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