IVM Chemicals – Helping South African Forests Grow

South Africa offers a unique landscape and climate for many different agricultural practicesto flourish. In the Western Cape, we have conditions ideal for planting wine grapes, while wheat, sunflowers and certain fruits also flourish in this area. In the Free State and Northwest, the climate is favourable to maize, sunflowers and soya among other things, while Limpopo and Mpumalanga successfully supply and export various fruits. Each province has its own niche focus but one we often forget is forestry. Forestry in South Africa only takes up 1.21 million ha of land according to Forestry South Africa 1 , or then 1% of the country’s total land. Mpumalanga and KwaZulu Natal are the biggest contributors with the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and the Western Cape also contributing to the one per cent.

Why is forestry in South Africa then important?

According to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF), the forestry sector employs ±165 900 workers and provides ±62 700 direct jobs and 30 000 indirect jobs.  Forestry provides income to 652 000 people of the country's rural population. The pulp and paper industry provides ±13 200 direct and 11 000 indirect employment opportunities, while some 20 000 workers are employed in sawmilling, and 6 000 in the timber board and 2 200 in the mining timber industries and a further 11 000 workers are employed in miscellaneous jobs in forestry. The forest sector and it’s various products contributes about  1%  to the  Gross Domestic Product. In terms of regional GDP, forestry in KwaZulu-Natal contributes 4,4%; in Mpumalanga 3,7%; in the Eastern Cape 0,6%; and in Limpopo about 0,6%. The forestry industry, like any other agricultural industry, face unique challenges with regards to weeds, pests and disease. In this article we will highlight some of these challenges and how IVM Chemicals can assist with solutions: Here are some of the common obstacles commercial and private forests face:

1. Weed Control

Weeds hold the biggest danger in for new seedlings and tree growth. Vegetation management reduces seedling mortality and increases the chances of early canopy closure. Canopy closure effectively also control weeds as the competition for sunlight is decreased and the weeds receive less sun. Therefore, vegetation management is extremely important before planting and when the plantation is still young. During periods of drought, special care should be taken to control weeds that could deplete water sources. IVM Chemicals recommends that vegetation management is done between plantations when weeds are still young. This will lower herbicide application and lower cost; smaller plants will receive an overall application and the herbicide applied will be more effective. Addressing weeds early on will kill them before they set seed and smaller plants mean that the nozzles are held lower to the ground decreasing drift.

2. Forest Diseases

Forest diseases are specific to the plant species such as Eucalyptus, Acacia and Pinus which are the three most common commercial tree species in South Africa. Chemical precautions that can be taken to minimise diseases are weed control. Chemical management in some instances are dependent on the fungus or bacteria and means of distribution. In many instances, clones that are resistant to species-specific diseases are selected, but this is not always possible.

3. Forest Insect Pests

South African trees, both residential and commercial, face a severe threat from the Polyphagous Shot Hole Beetle (PSHB). Worldwide researchers are working hard towards finding a solution to address this pesky little beetle that’s threatening our urban and commercial forests. However, this beetle is not alone in causing damage and as with the forest diseases, forest insect pests are specific to our commercial tree species. Cutworms, grasshoppers, termites, crickets, Eucalyptus borers, moths and wood wasps are only some of the pests that can affect tree growth. Insecticides are effective in managing forest insect pest, but we suggest that you talk to one of our consultants first before selecting an insecticide. IVM Chemical will help you select an insecticide product that is registered as effective for the management of specific insects and adheres to FSC approval and compliances.

IVM Chemicals – how can we help?
IVM provides weed, pest and disease control solutions to reduce competition between newly planted trees and other vegetation as well as to manage the vegetation within plantations. We are able to provide pre-emergence, non-selective and selective herbicides, pesticides and insecticides for all your needs in forestry. IVM Chemicals additionally supplies Aquasorb planting gel, a product that increases the water holding capacity of soils and enhances tree growth. IVM Chemicals can also supply the necessary equipment and training for weed spraying teams. We have all the necessary equipment you may need for the application of our products: 16 l knapsacks, manual and electric sprayers and a variety of nozzles for all your application requirements. IVM sales representatives have AVCASA, PCO licenses and IVM is a member of CropLife. We have been actively assisting the South African forestry industry for more than 10 years and we regularly provide training to spraying teams. For more information on our Forestry products and services please contact us today.