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Fever trees in Tshwane have caught a fever

Residents in the northern parts of Tshwane have raised their concern about infected and dying fever trees in their area.

Fever trees have been infected with witches’ broom, which was reported in other African states a few years ago and has now spread to South Africa. So far, witches’ broom has only affected fever trees in South Africa.

Witches’ broom looks like a cluster of small shoots or branches hanging from the end of the branches in the crown of the tree. This then infects the tree, which causes the stem to show signs of drying bark that can eventually lead to the death of the tree.

Witches’ broom spores are spread by the wind, which makes it virtually impossible to control, resulting in the infection of surrounding trees. There is no way to prevent the spread of the spores and there is no registered fungicide to spray on the infection. This can have an impact on fever trees and lead to the death of many trees.

The only recommended method that can be applied is to remove the infected branches about 30 cm to 50 cm below the infection. This can prevent the witches’ broom from infecting the tree and prevent it from spreading into the main stem of the tree.

As a precaution, it is recommended that if someone uses this method, eye protection and a mask be used over the mouth and nose to prevent inhaling the spores. This is recommended for your health as no research has been done on the effects of these spores on human health if someone comes into contact with many spores released at one time when the branches are cut.

Officials from the City’s Environment and Agriculture Management Department are continuously removing infected bark in Region 1 in an effort to save these trees.

Landowners with fever trees that are infected with witches’ broom are also encouraged to try to assist in containing the infection.

It has also been suggested that fever trees should not be watered. Fever trees that grow in more drought-prevalent conditions are less susceptible to infections.

Although the City is trying various methods to contain and prevent further infections, it is unknown territory. Only time will tell how effective these methods will be.

Common name: Fever tree (Vachellia xanthophloea (previously Acacia xanthophloea))


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