Invasive Plant Solutions PTY(Ltd)

Since 1888 botanists have warned us of the potential threat that may occur from plants brought into this country.


These plants where imported for various reasons such as hedges, wood supply, dune stabilization and for their pleasing aesthetic value.

 Today more than 20 Million hectares have been invaded throughout the country.
These invaders have destroyed farmlands, vineyards, river courses and even our own flower gardens. Unfortunately, to most people, if the scenery is green, they are happy. To most, the underlying threat posed by invaders is not known.

How serious is the problem of invader plants?
In Australia the problem impacts to the tune of R12 billion per annum.
In the United Kingdom the damage by invaders is approximately R2.5 billion per annum.
In New Zealand you looking at R600 million, whereas it is estimated that the impact of invaders in the United States exceeds R200 billion per annum.

Why do species become invaders?
They come from areas that have similar climates and soil conditions. The ecology of their home area is similar, such as areas prone to fire. They have the ability to produce large quantities of seed and they do not have their natural enemies.

Indigenous plants have adapted to the environmental conditions, using only what they need to survive. Invaders, not having enemies to slow their growth down have only to concentrate on producing seed for distribution. They are generally aggressive fast growing plants, and as they have unrestrictive seed production they can quickly dominate an area. And the faster they grow, the more water they use.

A human needs to consume approximately 8 glasses of water a day (About 2 litres) to live a healthy life. One invader tree infesting the waterway could on average drink 50 litres of water a day. That is about 25 people deprived of water in one day. Take 100 trees in a hectare you are looking at 2500 people having to limit their water intake. Multiply this with a couple of hundred (or thousand) hectares of water catchment area above a supply dam and the figure of water loss becomes astronomical.

Cultivated lands are under constant threat from plants such as Hakea, Scotch Thistle, Patterson’s Curse and others which make grazing difficult for livestock and in some cases deadly as with the Oleander.

Not even our indigenous forests are safe. Creeper plants are smothering sections of our forests in their quest for dominance. Pereskia and Bridal Wreath are 2 common such species.
Our waterways are being chocked by the likes of Water Hyacinth and Giant Reed (Spanish Reed). By choking waterways, flooding is aggravated and natural habitats are destroyed reducing the breeding capabilities of fish and aquatic life. Recreational activities are hampered by chocking up power boat engines and snagging fishing lines.

Some common species in Southern Cape gardens include Lantana, Black Wattle, and Pampas Grass. These are but a few of the more than 200 species declared and potential Weeds and Invaders.
On numerous occasions the Western Cape has been plagued by fires. A lot of these fires are fuelled by invaders causing more intense and destructive fires.

What are the economical impacts of invasive plants?
Reduction in available water. Especially ground water resulting in larger dams having to be built.
Loss of productive land.
Loss of grazing and livestock production.
Increased fire protection costs and fire damage.
Erosion from denuded areas.
Siltation of dams.

In terms with of the amendments to the regulations under the Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act, 1983 (Act No. 43 of 1983), Landowners and land users are by law responsible for the control and spreading of these species on their property.

What can one do to curb this threat?
Firstly, KNOW your invaders. You can not fight an enemy you do not know!

Understand the distribution and propagation method of the species. By knowing if it is wind or water distributed will allow you to take necessary precautions to limit it. Some species simply reproduce from cuttings or tubers.

Know the different tried and tested methods of eradication. Various means are available. Hacking or hoeing plants out roots and all. Cutting the plant down and if necessary applying a registered herbicide. Hand pulling young plants before they can produce seed is always a plus factor.

If you remove a plant with seed on, or it can grow from a cutting, place it in a bag to prevent it spreading at dumping sites.

For more information you can contact the local the Working for Water Programme, Department of Agriculture, Cape Nature or other conservation authority.

Only through everyone’s help and input can this threat be eliminated. Do not worry about others now. Get your property cleared and then apply pressure to those who do not want to comply.