City paints Durbanville trees to stop bark stripping

The City says Durbanville’s trees are being stripped of their bark for medicinal and cultural purposes.

The City is painting the trunks of Durbanville’s trees in response to incidents of bark stripping.

There has been noticeable bark stripping in the Durbanville CBD since the start of the year although there have been previous cases, says mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross.

“The extent and destruction of trees in the Durbanville CBD has risen at an alarming rate recently. After several bark-stripping incidents, the recreation and parks department has embarked on a project to paint the trunks of trees at risk of being bark-stripped,“ she said.

A light brown or grey PVA paint mixture, which rendered the bark unattractive for stripping but posed no risk to the tree, was being used, she said.

Camphor trees (Cinnamomum camphora), fever trees (Vachellia xanthophloea) and Norfolk pines (Araucaria columnaris) were most at risk, she said.

The City suspects the bark and roots are mostly taken at night for various medicinal or cultural reasons.

“When the bark is stripped from the entire circumference of a tree, also referred to as ring-barking, the tree dies a slow death due to the interruption of its nutritional transport systems,” she said.

Durbanville resident Wendy Herbick said: “We are aware that trees are being stripped of their bark and sold for muti. It’s a problem mainly for central Durbanville.”

The municipality is urging anyone who sees bark stripping to report it to the authorities.