SOAPkidz target pompoms at Rhino Park PDF Print E-mail
News - Ons Omgewing
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 08:36
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Rhino Park’s pompom weeds came under attack on Saturday 23 January. Fifty vulnerable children from various homes divided into eight pompom fighting teams, each under the leadership of a SOAPkidz volunteer.

Volunteer Christelle Putter is showing children how to put a bag over the pompom flower

SOAPkidz, the brainchild and passion of Karen Hauptfleisch, aims to create a better Africa by connecting vulnerable children to nature. The groups of boys and girls, aged between 11 and 16, bagged pompom flowers for about an hour. Poison was applied to the plants at a later stage because the owner didn’t want the children to be harmed.

Afterwards each child got the opportunity to choose and plant his or her own tree.

Pompom weed, Campuloclinum macrocephalom, is an invasive plant from South America that was introduced here without its natural enemies. Small patches of the weed soon enlarge and exclude indigenous plants. Its nutrient-packed roots resist nearly all attempts to kill it and it is frost-hardy and fireresistant. Spread of the plant can be limited by preventing seed production.

Volunteers and children on their way to plant trees

Aerial stems can be cut right back before the flowers produce seed. However, the plants will be stimulated to produce more stems and will have to be cut back several times until the end of the growing season.

Repeated cutting back of aerial growth should deplete nutrients stored in the roots, weaken the plant and limit seed production in the following season. This method is only practical on a small scale and it is advisable to remove all cut stems from the site, and to dispose of all flowers by burning or freezing.

Karen Hauptfleisch, in the centre with the blue SOAPkidz T-shirt, with her pompom eradication team at Rhino Park
Photo?s: SOAPkidz

Physical methods of control such as uprooting or hoeing are only effective if the rootstock and tubers are removed. It is not advisable to plough lands with pompom weed, as this will damage the rootstock, stimulating further vegetative growth and denser stands.

The only herbicide registered for use on pompom weed is Brush-Off by DuPont, of which 25 g of granules should be mixed in 100 liters of water, or 2,5 g per 10 liters. For more information phone Dr Stefan Neser at tel: 012-356-9842/00, fax: 012-356-9856 or e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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