Ready to tackle invasive alien plants

20 Feb,2017Working on Fire

A Training Officer in Gauteng, Happy Mpandeli, reports that alien invasive plant species like pompom and lantana are dangerous and are a threat to vegetation.

“We have t rained 95 herbicide applicators to mitigate these alien plants this year as they grow a lot off-season,” he says.

Mpandeli says herbicide applicators are in demand with landowners, especially during the off-season. When participants attend the 25-day programme at Mbombela Training Academy it is compulsory for them to do herbicide application as it is part of the basic firefighting course.

“Landowners struggle to contain mushrooming of alien plants in their plots, nature reserves and farms. Our teams come in to help mitigate invasive plants’ growth and spread,”

Mpandeli says. Alien plants pose a threat to the environment because they wipe out pasturelands in farms and that causes frustration for farmers. Mpandel i point s out Abe Bailey, Roodeplaat and Leeuwfontein nature reserves as hotspots as they are often infested with pompoms, while farmers in the Vaal Marina and De Wildt areas struggle with lantana.