Growing a Future

Tree_Benefits_Blog-1Aid Africa’s tree distribution program provides myriad benefits to the communities we serve. On the advice of Trees for the Future, we plant about a third crop trees and two thirds fuel wood.

We have been planting rough lemon rootstock for our citrus trees and then grafting Valencia oranges onto it. It takes from six to nine months for the lemon trees to grow from seed to be big enough to graft. Then it takes another three months or more for the newly grafted tree to be ready for distribution to people in the community. We also grow mangoes, papayas, avocados and bananas.

I’ll have to admit I’m unfamiliar with the varieties of African fuel wood trees we plant. They are names I’ve never heard of. However, a bit of research has made moringa oleifera one of my favorites. Check out this link: http://www.moringatree.co.za/moreinfo.html to read about its benefits and then click on the “Other Uses” tab on that page to see why it is considered a miracle tree.

Trees also are good at holding water in the soil. That means wells don’t dry up as fast and there is less erosion. I read somewhere that a single tree can hold back 56,000 gallons of water. Add a million trees to an area and stop flooding, keep rivers flowing through the dry season and improve the quality of all life – plants, wild animals and human included.

Tree_Benefits_Blog-2Food, fuel and shade, those benefits are obvious. But wait, there’s more! Trees provide forage for animals, and how about construction material for buildings? All those dead leaves provide mulch to increase agricultural yields. Trees supply ways for water to penetrate the surface and recharge the aquifer. I mentioned water erosion, but the wind can blow away tons of topsoil. Trees can stop that. What about climate change? Trees sequester carbon and clean the atmosphere. And then, kids need trees to climb. There’s gotta be some fun in life.

Thank you very mulch.

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