The devastating fires that have swept through Pearly Beach last month has again put the focus on the real danger of having alien plants in your garden, as the fires spread very quickly through thick Rooikrans vegetation. Many exotic plants are attractive, but present a huge danger to our indigenous plants as they are invasive and destroy our lovely vegetation. Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) is a Category 2 plant invader, which means that these are plants with the proven potential of becoming invasive, but which nevertheless have certain beneficial properties that warrant their continued presence in certain circumstances. Category 3 plant invaders are undesirable because they have the proven potential of becoming invasive, but most of them are nevertheless popular ornamentals or shade trees that will take a long time to replace. Category 3 plants will not be allowed to occur anywhere unless they were already in existence when these regulations came into effect. The Manatoka (Myoporum tenuifolium subsp. montanum, also sometimes called M. acuminatum) is a declared Category 3 plant.
When buying plants at local nurseries, be sure to ask for plants that are indigenous to this area. Small plants should be protected from windblown sand which will damage young stems. Protection may be provided by shade cloth, or better, by planting amongst existing plants.
The following list of indigenous trees for this area, was prepared by Ernst van Jaarsveld:
Kusvaalbos (Brachylaena discolor), Kanferbos (Tarchonanthus camphoratus), Melkhout (Sideroxylon iner-me), Kusrooimelkhout (Mimusops caffra), Kusghwarrie (Euclea racemosa), Duinevalstaaibos (Allophyllus natalensis), Duinekraalbessie (Rhus crenata), Duinebruidbos (Pavetta revolute), Aasvoëlbessie (Maurocenia frangularia) en Veldvy (Ficus burtt-davyi).
Shrubs: Kus-hardeblaar (Robsonodendron maritimum), Duinekokoboom (Maytenus procumbens), Kaapse kokobos (Maytenus lucidus), Septemberbossie of Bloukappie (Polygala myrtifolia), Bietou (Chrysanthemoides monilifera); and Vaalbietou (Chrysanthemoides incana).
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
· Learn how to identify and control invasive alien plants
· Join or form hacking teams to remove such plants from your area
· Remove invasive plants when they are still small
· Plant indigenous (local) plants in your garden
· Buy only indigenous plants from nurseries
· Tell people about the dangers of invasive alien vegetation.