The Western Cape (the Cape Floral Kingdom) is home to three types of vegetation - Fynbos, Strandveld and Renosterveld. Our area, the Overberg, is home to renosterveld. It is not known how renosterveld got its' name, but there is general consensus that it was named after the Black Rhinoceros which used to live in this habitat, and which was the only animal that would eat this bush.
Renosterveld is apparently on the endangered list, due to agricultural development. There is not much remaining renosterveld on our plot as it was firstly, planted with wheat years ago, and secondly, it was completely overgrazed by the locals animals prior to our buying the land. (The locals feel no shame in cutting fences in order to let their animals graze on another persons land LOL)
Whatever - our plot is covered in renosterbos (rhinoceros bush)- a hardy, not particularly pretty bush. In fact not even the livestock will eat it. The conservation status of renosterbos itself is not threatened due to its weedy nature. It is widespread and abundant on road verges and reaches high densities on disturbed or overgrazed lands.It is also the perfect place for ticks to lay in wait for their next meal, or for a snake to shelter beneath on those hot summer days... And the latter causes me some concern - especially when our grandson visits, as, being 7 years old, he is not as aware as we are.
So, this last weekend, I started removing it from our future orchard area. This bush can only be pulled out of the ground after the rains - and even then it's no easy task on some of the larger bushes. In summer, when the ground is baked hard, you have no chance!
RMan came to help, but even so it took us a full day to clear a small corner of our land.
What a difference it makes! I am well pleased with our efforts :)It's beginning to look like a meadow / orchard now. I can't wait to see which new (renosterveld) plants grow now that the renosterbos has been removed. And all the rain water that will now be available to the plants / lemon trees, or just able to soak down to the water table...
I can't tell you how many (new) muscles I discovered I had in my body - after spending roughly 10 hours bent over double, and straining as I pulled out the bushes, I felt the protest of each and every one :) But, I reckon it was worth it!