The challenge of wild planting baobabs

Young baobabs are delicious especially to goats, impala and baboons.  So a multipronged approach is needed.  One is to identify areas that don’t have these animals and use their absence to successfully establish baobabs (watch this space) or where these animals are plentiful to find creative solutions.

The first approach was to simply protect the young trees with wire cages, but the problem is that other humans find the poles and mesh wire really useful and remove the materials leaving the trees without protection.  The second approach was to grow the trees in a nursery environment until big enough not to need protection. Large planting bags were purchased that the trees grown in these, but two years later the trees were still not tall enough to plant out, their growth too slow to justify the costs of nurturing them for multiple years.

Baobabs planted in big bags – now 2 years old

Thus, the next idea is to plant the trees in a “plantation” where they can use the natural ground to boost their height growth.  We have seen how well they do when planted into the soil in our Baobab Guardians project.  In the “plantations” they will be left to grow until they are the right size after which they will be dug up and planted into the wild.  Our first trees were planted in Mr Phugo’s homestead.

We will give them a year, so hold thumbs and lets see what happens!

Mr Phugo next to baobab “plantation”.

Dr Sarah Venter