Save the Sea Grape Trees

Our attempts to Save the Sea Grape Trees on Sandy Beach in Vieux Fort, which have been badly affected by white fly infestations, mealy bugs and sooty mold, are ongoing.

During the 2nd week of November, two workmen from the NCA used a mist blower lent to us by the National Fair Trade Organization, to spray the sea grape trees on Sandy Beach to the north of The Reef. This exercise took approximately 4 days, after which the workers were re-assigned to different tasks.

As we had use of the mist blower for a little longer, we contacted Ms. Rubin at the Vieux Fort town council, who graciously consented to let us have two of their workmen for one day, and one workman for the following day. With help from staff from the water sports centre at The Reef Kite + Surf, we managed to spray for another two days during the 3rd week of November, carrying the barrel with soapy water on the back of our pick-up truck to a point south of The Reef on Sandy Beach, so the workmen could refill the sprayer without needing to trek back all the time. The Reef also donated the petrol needed for the mist blower.

Most of the large trees on both sides of the highway received treatment during this stint but, unfortunately, a number of large trees in the area of the Recreation Park were not included - even though they perhaps need to be sprayed most urgently of all!

At this stage, a number of tasks need to be performed:

  1. An assessment of the trees that have been treated, so see whether the level of white fly, mealy bug and sooty mold infestations have dropped.
  2. Continuation with spraying, particularly of trees in the area of the Recreation Park.
  3. Re-spraying the areas north and south of The Reef.

Mr. Leroy St. Louis of the Pest Control Department at the Ministry of Agriculture located at Beausejour will be conducting a monitoring exercise this week. Preliminary findings seem to indicate that while the white flies are diminished, they have not been fully eliminated as yet - which is in line with our general expectations that incidental re-spraying will be necessary.

Ms. Rubin at the Vieux Fort Town Council has agreed to lend us two workmen again (including the keen and very capable Didacus) for the period 12-14 December, which - weather permitting - will give us at least another two or three days of spraying. Mr. Anthony Phillip will arrange to borrow the mist blower from the Fair Trade Organization for those days, and bring it to The Reef. We still have sufficient dishwashing liquid left for another week or so of spraying.

We would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the NCA, the Vieux Fort Town Council, Chemico Ltd, the National Fair Trade Organization, the Department of Forestry and the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as the water sports staff at The Reef for their support thus far, and hope we can continue to work towards Saving the Sea Grape Trees on Sandy Beach!

Member of the Southern Chapter Jolien Harmsen

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