Landscaping guide to invasive shot hole borer legislation

What legislation must landscapers know about if they find a shot hole borer invasion on a site?

The polyphagous shot-hole borer (Euwallacea fornicatus) and its fungal symbiont (Fusarium euwallaceae) are now referred to – collectively – as invasive shot-hole borer (ISHB).

To date, ISHB have been identified in 59 exotic and 55 indigenous tree species by the University of Pretoria FABI in South Africa. Download the full list of host species affected @ Forestry & Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) website.

There are three issues of importance to landscapers:

i) What emergency legislation has been passed by two government departments?

ii) When are landscapers obliged to report a shot hole borer invasion?

iii) What are the 23 notifiable trees (DFFE) and 9 notifiable crop species (DALRD)?


1.1 Environmental legislation

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s (DFFE), Minister Barbara Creecy, gazetted (4 September, 2020) the following emergency measures in order to control the breeding and spread of the invasive shot-hole borer.

Report invasions: Any owner or occupier of land in areas affected by invasive shot hole borer (see FABI map below) must report the presence of shot-hole borer on any of 23 threatened tree species to Ms Shashika Maharaj at or by telephone: 021 441 2707.
Protect our nature reserves: No person may move, transport or convey any of the 23 targeted tree species – including as firewood – into any protected area declared in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003 (Act No. 57 of 2003).
Infested wood may not be sold: No person may sell any specimen or wood that is infested with the shot-hole borer.
For full gazetted notice: DFFE emergency regulations for invasive shot hole borer (4 September, 2020)

Areas affected by invasive shot hole borer

National parks and nature reserves (land designated by the Protected Areas Act) is the focus of the emergency legislation gazetted by DFFE.

The emergency regulations list 23 tree species – all target species of ISHB.
The presence of shot hole borer in any target species – in areas of South Africa – as seen on the map (see FABI Map below) – is notifiable under the emergency regulations.
All 23 notifiable trees are Reproductive Host Trees.
23 Notifiable ISHB Target Trees

Indigenous trees

Coast silver oak (Brachylaena discolor)
Forest bushwillow (Combretum krausii)
River bushwillow (Combretum erythrophyllum)
Coast coral tree (Erythrina caffra)
Water blossom pea (Podalyria calyptrata)
Fountain bush (Psoralea pinata)
Cape willow (Salix mucronata)
Keurboom (Virgilia oroboides subsp. ferruginea)
Exotic trees

Japanese maple (Acer palmatum)
Pink flame tree (Brachychiton discolor)
American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)
Avocado (Pearsea americana)
London plane (Platanus x acerifolia)
Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
English oak (Quercus robur)
White willow (Salix alba)
Invasive species

18. Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon)
19. Black wattle (Acacia mearnsii)
20. Chinese maple (Acer buergerianum)
21. Box elder (Acer negundo)
22. Honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos)
23. Castor-oil plant (Ricinus communis)

1.2 Agricultural legislation

Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRD), Angela Didiza, issued emergency legislation (3 July 2020) relating specifically to the following agricultural species.

Nine notifiable agricultural species:

1. Avocado (Persea americana).
2. Pecan nut (Carya illinoinensis)
3. Lemon (Citrus limon)
4. Orange (Citrus sinensis)
5. Macadamia (Macadamia spp.)
6. Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)
7. Peach (Prunus persica)
8. Guava (Psidium quajava)
9. Grapevine (Vitis vinifera)

Compulsory notification

Report invasions. Every user of land within the Republic shall immediately notify your local agricultural inspectorate of any occurrence or suspected occurrence of the polyphagous shot hole borer.
No movement of infested woody species. No user of land shall remove any plants or plant products (from list above) from any quarantine area within the Republic without authorization by the agricultural inspectorate.
No cultivation of infested plants allowed. No user of land shall keep plant or cultivate any infested plant listed (from list above) to any land within the Republic.
3 July 2020: Interim emergency regulations passed:

DALRD emergency regulations for invasive shot hole borer (3 July 2020)

12 August 2021: Final gazetted notice of amendment to the law:

Control Measures Relating to the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (12 August, 2021). Amended update in Agricultural Pests Act, 1983 (ACT No. 36 OF 1983)

To date, ISHB have been identified in 59 exotic and 55 indigenous tree species by FABI in South Africa. Download the full list of species affected from the FABI website.

Invasive shot hole borer (ISHB) has been found on some backyard avocado trees in Sandton and Knysna, but its presence has not yet been confirmed in any commercial avocado orchards in South Africa (van den Berg et al. 2019)