“Increasingly, landowners in the Southern Cape are confronted with expenses in clearing their land of invasive alien plants, and to keep regrowth under control”, says Cobus Meiring of the Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI).

“These days legislation regulating the prevalence of invasive alien plants on private land comes into play when buying and selling property, so landowners are paying a lot more attention to the matter than previously was the norm.”

“So, where does your responsibility as a land owner start in dealing with invasives? Accoring to the laws governing invasive alien plants on private land, land owners should be aware of what is growing on their land, and address invasive alien plants where they occur”.

Continues Meiring, “for landowners in urban areas invasives are not such a big deal, but for landowners in rural and semi- urban areas, this could be seriously problematic. A prime example is small holdings on Wilderness Heights, Knysna and on the outskirts of Mossel Bay, where land is carpeted by black wattel, pines and blue gums (not to mention pampas grass, Madeira vein and Lantana”.

“Costs to clear land densely covered by invasives (for instance black wattle) could be as high as R10 000 per hectare for an initial clearing operation by contractors. For many landowners the task to clear their land, and to keep their land clear of regrowth, is often simply too costly and time consuming to consider”.

Nevertheless, continues Meiring, ” the pressure on landowners to bring the state of their land up to a standard, and free of invasive alien plants, is increasing, and can no longer be ignored”. “Question is how does land owners deal with the costs associated with invasive alien plant management?”

“Often easier said than done, landowners whose properties are badly effected by invasives should devise a simple strategy in tackling the problem, and deal with it in sections rather than biting off more than they can handle and keep under control”.

“Indigenous plants, on land cleared of invasive plants, generally recovers by itself if re- growth of invasives are kept under control, and even grass cover, instead of for instance indigenous fynbos, is preferable to wattle jungles.”

“So, our advise to effected landowners is to take it a step at a time, make steady progress and curtail costs as you go along”.

The Southern Cape Landowners Initiative (SCLI) is a public platform for all landowners with an interest in the eradication and control of invasive alien plants. Enquiries: cobus@naturalbridge.co.za

Written by Cobus Meiring