City of Joburg

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo


Johannesburg Zoo

 

All queries should be channelled through the call centre, Joburg Connect, which can be contacted 24 hours, seven days a week, on 0860 56 28 74 or 011 375 5555 For each query, you will get a reference number. Make sure you keep this number so that you can follow up your query. Email: joburgconnect@joburg.org.za

 

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19 March 2018

For Immediate Release

Yesterday, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) commenced the removal of forty-two dead Acer negendo, commonly referred to as Boxelder maple trees, in Craighall Park in Johannesburg.

This operation, scheduled on the eve of International Day of Forests which is commemorated globally on 21 March, under the 2019 theme, “forests and education”, is aimed at removing dead trees that have succumbed to Fusarium dieback (obstruction of the tree’s vascular system), after being infested by the Polyphagus Shot Hole Borer (PSHB).

The PSHB is an aggressive ambrosia beetle, native to Southeast Asia, first detected in South Africa in 2017 and in Johannesburg in 2018. While the borer beetle itself does not kill the tree, it introduces a fungus that consequently blocks the vascular system, which may lead to a tree’s rapid or gradual dieback.

In recent weeks, Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo has come under the spotlight for not responding speedily to residents and tree-maintenance providers, to eradicate all PSHB infested hosts and reproductive trees. The full list of affected species is available on www.jhbcityparks.com.

JCPZ through its day-to-day monitoring of the impact of the beetle found that the results of the infestation vary-- even in trees of the same species, within close proximity and in similar micro-climatic conditions. Some trees such as the London planes although heavily infested, were however not exhibiting rapid stages of decline. These findings can be related to the complexity of the issues posed by the PSHB.

“The impact of removing the city’s treescape in the absence of scientists from FABI finalizing their study, is irresponsible and premature”, stated the Managing Director of Johannesburg City Parks, Mr Bryne Maduka. Adding, that, “JCPZ has met with counterparts from affected municipalities to design a management plan to intensify public awareness; establish a customer interface for residents to report infested trees and strengthen monitoring and operations to control the PSHB”.

In the interim Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, has identified sites suitable for solarizing infested wood that is removed from public spaces. Affected trees will be chipped and safely transported to the nearest street trees depot, where the chipped material will be covered in a sturdy plastic to allow for the solarization process that destroys the beetle. The process will be closely monitored over a six-month period, before the wood chippings are re-used as mulch or compost.

Residents are urged to monitor their private trees as well as their street trees, for symptoms of the beetle and to report sightings to 011 375-5555. Symptoms to look out for are ‘shot’ holes on trees, wet-spots, frass and or oozing ‘noodle-like’ resin. Areas with reports of high infestations include Craighall, Hurlingham and Dunkeld.

There is currently no approved chemical application in South Africa, to eradicate the PSHB. JCPZ would like to caution residents against the use of any chemical which has the potential to cause more harm to the environment than good. Concerns posed by the use of unapproved chemical applications are centered around the contamination of ground water, loss of animal habitat and the death of pollinating insects such as bees.

JCPZ is calling on residents to only remove dead branches and dead trees on their private properties. Keep your tree properly fertilised and watered, as a healthy tree is more resistant to disease and infestations.

For more information please email trees@jhbcityparks.com or whatsapp 0828030 748.

Councillor Nonhlanhla Sifumba
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development
City of Joburg

MEDIA ENQUIRIES:
Jenny Moodley
Spokesperson: Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo
Telephone: 011 712-6615
Email: jmoodley@jhbcityparks.com
Whatsapp on 082 8030 748
Mobile: 082 8030 748/ 082 906 1515
Website: www.jhbcityparks.com