Villages clear alien vegetation

STAFF REPORTER

THE Bathurst Village Conservancy (BVC) has been hard at work clearing lantana and inkberry along the main road through Bathurst, focusing particularly on the green area opposite the Pig and Whistle.

As the whole village has been invaded by lantana and inkberry, Lindsay Walker and Serena Gess of the BVC said it was difficult to decide where to focus the conservancy’s limited funds.

“This otherwise attractive green space in the centre of the village seemed a good place to start, as it will be very much in the public eye on the weekend of the Bathurst Country Affair at the end of October,” said Walker.

ALIEN ERADICATION: Andrew Makomba (left), Livingstone Lenye, Lindsay Walker and Serena Gess have been clearing pervasive lantana and inkberry from along the main road through Bathurst Picture: SUPPLIED

The BVC is employing Andrew Makomba and Livingstone Lenye every Friday for the next few months to help combat the increasing invasion of lantana in the village.

The seeds of lantana and inkberry are spread by birds, so the bigger the available seed bank, the faster it spreads.

“We appeal to all landowners to take responsibility for the lantana and inkberry on their own land, as well as on their verges – Ndlambe municipality will not be coming to sort this out for us!” Gess said.

“If we all do so, the seed bank available to birds will be lessened, and the BVC can focus on clearing public open space.”

Gess explained that both lantana and inkberry must be pulled up by the roots, as they simply reshoot if cut down. Alternatively, they can be cut and the stumps painted immediately with poison (available at the agricultural co-op).

“Obviously, great caution must be taken when using poisons and this is generally a last resort for really big specimens which can’t be uprooted,” Walker said.

BVC members contribute R8.30 a month (or R100 a year) towards conservation projects in the village.

In previous years they have planted the trees outside Tanglewoods, and the meshed trees on the main road near the co-op and opposite the Herb Nursery. Membership is open to anyone in the village who would like to contribute towards conservation close to home.

“We would love to have new members!” said Gess.

If you would like to join the Bathurst Village Conservancy or would like to donate money towards on-going lantana clearing, please visit the treasurer, Margie Addenbrooke, at The Workshop.

BVC members who have not yet paid their R100 for 2012, are asked to drop it off Addenbrooke so that the BVC can continue with this crucial work.

“Ideally, we would like to carry on employing Andrew and Livingstone weekly on a more permanent basis,” said Walker. “If any villagers would like to employ their reliable and trained service to clear their verges or properties of lantana and inkberry, please call me on 082-509-2086.”

“Now that the lantana is flowering, one can see just how pervasive it has become in the last few years,” said Gess. “Our village will be on show over the weekend of the Bathurst Country Affair. We want visitors to notice our lovely indigenous trees and hedges, not our lantana problem!”

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