The Pine Tree Project

09 Jul 2014 10:10 #61269 by Viking
Replied by Viking on topic The Pine Tree Project
There are a fair bunch of the old pines on the slopes to the North of Rainbow Gorge (south slopes of Tryme Hill) at Didima.

Did a short day-hike on Sunday and scrambled up out of the gorge at more or less this location to return via Tryme Hill ridge.

28°58'26.85"S
29°13'6.51"E

From here we saw a number of pines including this big old guy right in the gorge clinging on for dear life!












“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”

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22 Aug 2014 20:36 - 22 Aug 2014 20:45 #61580 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
The Cleft Peak Cluster

On a VE trip in 2012, this Pine tree cluster was spotted below the cliffs of Cleft Peak:


In 2014 on another VE trip to the area ( VE Berg Trip 5 ), we made a point of targeting this cluster. They were accessed via a steep, thickly vegetated slope. The views of Column and Pyramid were spectacular from there.


As is usually the case, there always land up being more trees than what is apparent from further away. We counted 60 trees in this cluster!







Cluster location: S28 59 46.5 E29 10 19.6, altitude: 2454m. This is significantly high for pines in the Berg.


All of the trees, except one were cut down:


In the shot above, the big dead tree is very apparent. On arrival and to our surprise we discovered that this tree had been ringbarked and poisoned, probably a long time ago. There were several holes, a couple of centimetres deep, which is where the poison would have been injected. No doubt this was effective and chances are this tree was a female. Had it not been treated long ago, this cluster would probably have been a lot bigger than it was. We do not use poison to treat pines in our day, since it is mostly not necessary and it also poses a contamination risk in the wilderness area. Our ringbarking measures are far stronger and more stringent however.


We ring bark trees even if they have been cut down since this minimises the chance of regrowth, which does happen in a small percentage of cases.


Though the work was very taxing, we managed to tackle all of the trees in one visit. The site will have to be re-visited in about 5 years in order to tackle new trees and stop any regrowth.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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Last edit: 22 Aug 2014 20:45 by intrepid.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe, diverian, Stijn, jamcligeo, andrew r

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26 Aug 2014 12:57 - 26 Aug 2014 12:58 #61597 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
The highest Berg pine on record

The highest pine tree we have on record is located at S28 59 50.7 E29 10 04.0 (between Cleft Peak and Tseketseke Pass), at an altitude of 2610m.

In the picture below it is growing out of the boulders, left of the deep cleft in the cliffs in the centre of the photo:


It was above, and more to the North of the Cleft Peak Cluster detailed in the post above, and all on its own. The only other pines which might compete with this are the ones on Thuthumi Pass, but I do not have a GPS reading of those.

Here is a challenge to find another pine in the Berg which is higher! And if you are doing Thuthumi Pass any time soon, please take a reading of the upper pine cluster and let us know.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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Last edit: 26 Aug 2014 12:58 by intrepid.

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26 Aug 2014 16:43 #61603 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic The Pine Tree Project
This thread certainly makes one more aware of Pine infestation everywhere we go. We went up Joubertspas (Eastern Cape Maloti) on Sunday, and the Pine infestation higher up in the valleys is really concerning. (Yes, there are Pine Plantations, but the spread of rogue Pines are evidently not controlled well).

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11 Jan 2015 18:00 #62571 by HFc
Replied by HFc on topic The Pine Tree Project


I did a hike which involved cutting across the Caledon Valley once and we walked through a decent pine forest, possibly the one in the picture. There were tracks (caused by dragging tree trunks) leading from the forest to the sandstone cliffs with a village below it. It was very evident that the locals cut down the trees, drag them to the cliffs where they are thrown down and collected below.


Looking through some old photos this afternoon we came across this, and I recalled this discussion on it. Some photographic evidence of what intrepid was referring to.


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12 Jan 2015 19:54 #62583 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
Yes that seems familiar. I think there is another spot in that village where they do that, or perhaps the is another cliff band further down along the same route.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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08 Apr 2015 14:57 - 08 Apr 2015 14:59 #63335 by diverian
Replied by diverian on topic The Pine Tree Project
These are two trees, in Cataract Valley Injasuti, that were spotted by Intrepid. We ring-barked them both two years ago.





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Last edit: 08 Apr 2015 14:59 by diverian.
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08 Apr 2015 21:15 #63341 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
Quite amazing what diverian and witchiwoo have single handedly achieved at Injasuthi. Almost every time I go there I see their handiwork.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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09 Apr 2015 08:27 - 09 Apr 2015 08:51 #63345 by diverian
Replied by diverian on topic The Pine Tree Project
@Intrepid, Thanks........ Here is some recent work however that is not ours. We have in the past tackled a number of trees in the river opposite Cataract Valley but shied away from the ones on the steep and bushy slopes above. It seems that the authourities have been treating some of these.


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Last edit: 09 Apr 2015 08:51 by diverian.

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09 Apr 2015 12:22 #63346 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic The Pine Tree Project
I wonder if those have been treated with poison. I saw them a year ago and they didn't look like that at all.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

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