Starting a native planting project on your farm is a lot easier with the right advice and support from the community. Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Canterbury Trust hosted our annual Plantout tour on Sunday April 9th in two locations across the Selwyn District with a growing number of interested people.
On Sunday morning in Hororata, Colin Meurk, Landcare Research associate and ecologist engaged the crowd for almost two hours with his splendid knowledge of native plants and how to plan a restoration project. A number of farmers who have been planting now annually for a number of years also shared their insights about site preparation, maintenance, and which plants were doing really well. It was recommended to take a long-term approach; planting a few hundred every year, and therefore not getting overwhelmed by maintenance of competitive weeds. One of the landowners, Tony Edwards, commented “why wouldn’t I want to spend time amongst these native plants?”. A few years back he was hesitant to start planting, and now he wants to do more every year. Some of Mr Edwards plants are now taller than he is, only three years after planting, and they are really starting to change the landscape.
One of the couples commented at the end of the morning tour: “Thanks for today. We loved the experience, learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed the company of the people we met” They are keen to become volunteers for Spring planting this year and would like to establish their own greendot with the trusts support in the future.
The afternoon plantout tour covered two sites in Tai Tapu; starting with a newly established planting site up on the hill, with the final visit at a well established community planting site on Old Tai Tapu road. This was a great opportunity for some of our new landowners looking to plant natives to see how their projects would progress; showcasing what happens from 1 to 6 years if they undertake best weed control practices in the first few years. Ecologist Alan McDonald was our key speaker, and he talked us through the whole process of native restoration planning, planting and maintenance.
A number of key suggestions were: Seek advice for appropriate plants for your soil type and micro climate. Have a restoration plan that starts with planting more shrubs, and waits until there is some cover before planting the larger podocarp trees. Reduce the ‘edge effect’ by making wider strips of planting to insure higher survival rates and a better size of habitat for birds. Choose eco-sourced seeds from this region and request this from your plant nursery. This will insure your plants are most well adapted to your environment.
The trust announced various funding programmes they host, including the Community Environment Fund (Ministry for the Environment) and the Selwyn Natural Environment Fund. If you are looking for advice and support, be in touch with Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Canterbury Trust www.kakariki.org.nz
Thank you to our funders for the Greendot programme this year.