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Johannesburg has the world’s largest urban forest (the other claimant in Rio is outside the residential part of the city). But our forest is dying! Helen and I live in Rosebank in the heart of the so called “Parks” – Parkview, Parkhurst, Parktown, and we are watching the trees around us die.

Sure, many of them fall to property developers – there seems to be an insatiable demand for residential apartments, so that Rosebank central (which is largely devoid of trees) is creeping outwards, but that’s not the problem that we see as we drive through our leafy neighbourhood. Next time you’re in a leafy suburb, look up at the trees. You’ll see naked, dead branches or prematurely dying leaves. Then look at the bark on the tree trunks. You’ll see that in many places, there is none. Trees draw their nutrition up the bark, not in the wood itself (that’s why ring barking a tree will kill it). What’s causing this wholesale destruction? A tiny bug called the shot hole borer.

shotholeborer

Apparently, it’s not the borer that kills the tree but the fungus that the borer farms for food.

If, like us, you have one of these dying trees in your garden, you will see numerous holes of about 1mm diameter in the bark. If you shake a branch you’ll be showered in wood dust. Here’s the last of three tree trunks remaining of ours. And you can see another infected tree in the background.

dyingtrees

So, what can be done? The only treatment at this time is to cut down the tree and burn it, or chop it up, seal it in plastic and “cook” it in the sun. However, there are so many infected trees, both in gardens and on the roads, that I can’t see that stopping the epidemic.

But, as a natural born problem solver and being in the financial services industry for the past 48 years where successful results for my clients are paramount, I am on a mission to find a cure.

I therefore invite all my followers, friends and clients to join me in finding a solution and discuss this topic on my Facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/harbourassociates/posts/788274711541337

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