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  Creating Bio-Diverse Indigenous Landscapes and Gardens


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Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius

The Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius  belongs to the family Anacardiaceae, other well known trees that belong to this family are the mango, marula, cashew and pistachio. The Brazilian pepper-tree is native to south eastern Brazil, northern Argentina and Paraguay.

schinus terebinthifolius

The Brazilian Pepper Tree is a small tree that reaches over 30 feet in height, typically with multiple short trunks hidden in a thicket of branches. The leaves are alternately arranged with 1-2 inch long, elliptic, and finely toothed leaflets. The leaves are also reddish, often possessing a reddish mid-rib. The flower clusters are white and 2-3 inches long with male and female flowers that look very similar. The glossy fruits are borne in clusters that are initially green, becoming bright red when ripe.

The Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius is a highly invasive alien invasive species

The Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius has become a serious weed in South Africa, California, Florida and Hawaii, USA. It is also known to be invasive in Australia, New Zealand, as well as in many Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean islands. Although it is not invasive in its native range it has become an aggressive woody weed in exotic locations, displacing native vegetation as well as rapidly invading disturbed sites, often naturalizing. High growth rate, wide environmental tolerance, prolific seed production, a high germination rate, shade tolerant seedlings, attraction of biotic dispersal agents and the ability to form dense thickets all contribute to this species being highly invasive in its exotic range. It is especially suited to colonizing disturbed sites and can grow in both wet and dry conditions. Its growth habit allows it to climb over under story trees and invade mature canopies, forming thickets that choke out most other plants.

Birds and mammals (monkeys) are the primary mechanisms for dispersal here in South Africa. Seeds are viable for up to 2 months, losing viability as time progresses. The invasiveness of Brazilian pepper tree in our region can be attributed to its high germination rates and efficient dispersal agents.

Legal Obligations
The Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius  is classified as a Cat 1 invasive plant in our region.

Category 1 plants, or declared weeds

These are prohibited plants that will no longer be tolerated, neither in rural nor urban areas, except with the written permission of the executive officer or in an approved biocontrol reserve. These plants may no longer be planted or propagated, and all trade in their seeds, cuttings or other propagative material is prohibited. They may not be transported or be allowed to disperse.

 
Removal and control of the Brazilian Pepper Tree Schinus terebinthifolius

Chemical:

Basal Bark treatment:This is the easiest and preferred method of control because it not only kills the target tree but prevents re-growth from the roots which occurs if the trees are simply cut down. A mixture of triclopyr mixed at the rate of 1.5% with diesel is painted  in a 250 mm band as low as possible around the base of the target tree.

Foliar Herbicide Application: Foliar applications are very effective, but thorough coverage is essential triclopyr or glyphosate herbicides should be applied directly to the tree's foliage and will be translocated to other parts of the tree. Due to their large size and often-inaccessible habitat, foliar application is limited to seedlings.

Herbicides containing the following active ingredients and at the dose rates suggested below have given good results.

Method Active ingredient Dose rate
Cut stump Triclopyr (240 g/L) (Garlon)

Glyphosate (360 g/L) (Roundup)

Mix 15 ml with 1L diesel

 30 ml  per 1L water

Apply to the cut surface as well as a band around the stump
Foliar spray

Triclopyr (240 g/L) (Garlon)


Glyphosate (360 g/L) (Roundup)

15 ml per 1L water

15 ml per 1L water

Apply to drip off
Basal bark application

Triclopyr (240 g/L)(Garlon)

Mix 15 ml with 1L diesel paint in a band of 250 mm around the base of the trunk

Mechanical:
When utilizing mechanical methods, the entire plant, particularly the root system, should be removed. Roots 5 mm in diameter and larger are able to re-sprout and produce new plants, so follow-up from this type of control method will be necessary. Where trees have been cut down the remaining stump must be treated as soon as possible after being cut with a chemical herbicide to prevent re-growth from both the remaining stump as well as from the roots.

Fire:
Pepper Tree seeds cannot tolerate heat and will not germinate following a fire, but the plant has the potential to re-sprout from the roots after a fire.

Michael Hickman 04.04.12

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This page was created on 10.04.12
This page was last updated on 28.10.13