In South Africa, Arbour Day was first celebrated in 1983. The event captured the imagination of people who recognised the need for raising awareness of the value of trees in our society. As sources of building material, food, medicine, and simple scenic beauty, trees play a vital role in the health and well-being of our communities.

Collective enthusiasm for the importance of this issue in South Africa inspired the national government, in 1999, to extend the celebration of Arbor Day to National Arbor Week.

From 01 to 07 September every year, schools, businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in community "greening" events to improve the health and beauty of the local environment and propose a green future for South Africa.

The following trees are part of the tree of the Year presented by the Department of Forestry (DAFF):

Ziziphus mucronata: Hairy buffalo-thorn, Harige blinkblaar wag-n-bietjie

Euclea pseudebenus: Ebony tree, Ebbeboom