This project involved the revegetation of 18ha of marginal land in Dairy Flat. Scrub Consultants was involved from the onset of the project with revegetation design and the preparation of a detailed Revegetation Plan. During the winter of 2008 Scrub Growers planted a total of 86,000 colonizing plants across the 18ha site which is bounded by three large significant natural areas (SNA’s). These plants were propagated by Scrub Growers from seed eco-sourced specifically for the project. A further 5000 diversity plants were planted amid establishing 2m high plantings during the winter of 2010.
The manuka, kanuka and karamu component of this project (making up approx 85% of mix) were planted as Hillson root trainers. The decision to use this small grade of plant was driven primarily by poor site access, the difficulties in moving plants around on site (steep gorse covered hill slopes), and the need to keep project costs down in order to maintain the projects commercial viability. Regardless of the small container size the project passed Council’s performance audit process for establishment of the planting within a 6 month time frame. Now 3 years on the planting has reached an average height of approx 2.5m and an average canopy closure of approx 75%+.
Challenges faced in delivering this project related to poor access and steep terrain, with a limited 4WD track network utilized for delivering plants to a number of small ‘depots’ using our Polaris Ranger (UTV). From these areas plants were moved into the planting units using our ATU Polaris Ranger.
Scrub Growers continues to be involved in an intensive 5-year maintenance and replacement planting programme due for completion in 2013. Replacement rates at the end of the first year were below 5%. Maintenance has focused primarily on the control of kikuyu, gorse, pampas and wilding pine. Due to the dense pasture sward that was left intact pre-planting weed problems have been kept to a minimum, however the exposed north facing slopes have experienced sizable seedling gorse flushes which have been controlled in selected areas where deemed necessary.