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Native forestry planting project a success

Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:00 a.m.

A Bay of Plenty Regional Council project to demonstrate native forestry as an alternative land use has been established.

The small project in Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park began about 18 months ago, when various species of trees were planted in an area chosen because it’s on Council land and can be easily accessed and viewed by the public over the next 50 years. The trees - puriri, tanekaha, pohutukawa and totara - were selected for their durability, growth rates and suitability for the coastal location. Round-up was sprayed prior to the area being planted to remove the kikuyu grass, and pest plants were controlled.  

The Council’s Land Management team, with support from Upokorhe's Resource Management team, then planted the trees at 1600 stems per hectare. The planting was completed in one day.

Once the trees were established they were form-pruned to remove multi-stems, and had extra leaders removed or tipped to promote a single, straight vertical leader. Land Management staff members say the trees are now looking really good.

“The puriri trees are impressive, with some more than 1.6m tall and boasting trunks bigger than the old 50 cent coins,” says Land Management Officer Ben Banks.

“The tanekaha trees have been the slowest to take off, but this was expected, with most nurseries reporting that they are one of the more difficult species to establish.”

Over the next three years the project will focus on ensuring the kikuyu grass doesn’t smother any of the smaller trees, and on encouraging the trees to grow tall and straight.

“It is exciting to see the trees’ growth rates,” Ben says. “Hopefully people will see that our native trees are an option as an alternative land use.”

If you would like information about native species suitable for your site contact Ben Banks, Land Management Officer, Bay of Plenty Regional Council on 0800 884 880.

Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park