It’s quite simply not that easy to remove any invasive alien plant. Each species requires a different technique to try to prevent it from re-growing.
The same applies to three ‘new’ and emerging invasive alien plant species found to be growing on the Agulhas Plain: Kangaroo Paw, Mauritian Hemp and Australian bottlebrush.
The species are now being cut down and removed by a Flower Valley alien clearing team, partnering with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
Here are practical tips to – as successfully as possible – remove these plants, and prevent them from spreading.
1. KANGAROO PAW (Anigozanthos flavidus)
If the Kangaroo Paw plants are in dense stands, SANBI advises the careful use of herbicide (but extreme care must be taken to prevent spray drift, which could affect other species). Where plants are pulled out, the biomass must be placed on large black plastic sheets, and then they must be sprayed again with herbicide, to enhance decay.
2: MAURITIAN HEMP (Furcraea foetida)
The leaves of the Mauritian Hemp must be slashed, before it is foliar-sprayed. Without this step, the plant may not take in the herbicide. Again, care must be taken to prevent spray-drift when applying the herbicide.
3: AUSTRALIAN BOTTLEBRUSH (Melaleuca linearis)
Small plants should be hand pulled – although you must ensure that the roots are removed. Where the trees are cut down, herbicide must be applied to the stump immediately after cutting down the plant. SANBI recommends using a diluted imazapyr herbicide.
In the case of the Australian Bottlebrush, there is also extreme concern regarding the seeds. Each capsule on the seed cone contains around 60 seeds – which like Hakea, opens a few days after being killed. This facilitates the spread of the species.
In the Stanford area, where the Bottlebrush has been found, the fantastic, supportive landowner is ensuring that ALL seeds are removed from all the cut trees. This is not easy work, but is vital to prevent spread.