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Garden Focus - Sep 2019

Lend a helping hand

Lend a helping hand

Nature unselfishly showers us with countless blessings. The least we can do in return is to help preserve and not destroy her.

Avoid invasive species
Plants and the many environmental and human benefits they provide are key elements of a sustainable landscape. It is important to note, though, that some plants can also cause economic and environmental damage. Most people would agree that invasive plants are unwanted, having been intentionally or accidentally introduced by humans into areas outside of their natural habitat.

These invasives can spread rapidly with negative consequences for native species as they are habitat generalists and are able to survive in a wide range of conditions. Plants naturally interact with the surrounding environment and, over time, can change the characteristics of an ecosystem. In many areas, invasive species have altered important natural processes like hydrology, fire and nutrient flow – to the detriment of native plant and animal communities.

Such changes include altering the frequency of fires, nutrient cycling, water availability and soil erosion. In a few cases, some benefits of alien plants have been reported. For example, they can provide firewood for local communities or add resources for animal species. Yet these benefits typically do not surpass the negative effects. Your local nursery should be able to supply you with information regarding the potential danger of invasive plants.

How to get rid of an unwanted tree
Tree killer herbicides are not taken up through foliage or the root system of a tree, but through the vascular system. The small "veins" close after half an hour and then absorption won’t take place. The mixture should therefore be ready to be applied immediately after drilling holes at an angle in the remaining stump. Mix 25ml of Efekto’s Garlon-4 on 1 litre of diesel (carrier of the active ingredient) and pour into the holes. This will prevent re-growth and after approximately two months the stump can easily be removed.

Don’t overkill, but control
Use pesticides responsibly. A few critters or bugs can easily be removed by hand or simply hosed off. The excessive use of pesticides will eventually eliminate natural pests and then things will get out of control. We should make our gardens insect-friendly to attract not only them, but pollinators too. Some bees are not only pollinators, but also predatory or parasitic, killing pest insects.

Introducing insect repellent plants in your garden will greatly minimize the use of pesticides and restore a healthy ecosystem. Consult your local nursery about the variety and availability of such plants; the choices are endless.

Maria Nel
Ferreira’s Garden Centre
Tel: 061-234900

Riaan Momberg
Cell: 081 124 0288


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