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Trip Report - Te Marua Bush Workbees 2011

Trip Report – 16 July 2011:   Te Marua Bush Workbee

Map: Topo50-BP32 Paraparaumu

On a fine day, 12 people from BotSoc and Upper Hutt Forest and Bird, and Steve Edwards, Kaitoke Regional Park ranger, planted 145 native trees to fill gaps in the more recent plantings.   The last two years have had good growing conditions for establishing plants, and this is noticeable throughout the bush.   Numerous seedlings have appeared among the older plantings, and in the original Bush, including black maire up to 40 cm high, which will be planted out next year, and increasing numbers of tawa.   During the year a contractor sprayed tradescantia which was spreading again, particularly where SH2 was extended into the edge of the Bush when the road was widened.   The spraying was most effective, so no hand-weeding has been needed this year.

We picked up assorted rubbish that had been blown or thrown into the Bush, including seven big black plastic rubbish bagfuls dumped by some lazy person who missed the rubbish collection.

The crowns of three large black maire again appeared in poor condition and were photographed.   Greater Wellington (GW) have been asked to monitor them.

Relatively recent damage, appearing to be herbicide-related, in several sites in the Bush, has been reported to GW for follow up.   Identifiable graffiti tagged on matai trunks at the site of the illegal camp set up two years ago has been notified to the police.

No plant additions were made to the Te Marua Bush species list, but we noted that the Ileostylus micranthus mistletoe planted years ago on Melicope simplex had plenty of fruit.   Eastern rosella, Platycercus eximius was added to the adventive bird list.

We finished the work by lunch-time, thanks to the efforts of our helpers.

Participants :   Bruce Austin, Trudi Bruhlmann, Barbara Clark, Steve Edwards, Chris Horne, Rodney Lewington, Barbara Mitcalfe (co-scribe) Sue Millar (co-leader / co-scribe), Chris Moore, Alan Sheppard, Glennis Sheppard (co-leader), Darea Sherratt.

Trip Report – 19 November 2011:   Te Marua Bush Workbee


The blocks below are listed in the order in which they were worked on:

Block 4 – the second SW extension

We started with this block because it looked like a hay paddock, with just the tops of some trees showing through, so we vigorously attacked the tall grass and other weeds, revealing most of our more recently planted trees and shrubs.   The heavy snowfall in August had done considerable damage here, breaking and flattening boughs of the faster-growing, planted hebes and karamu.   These we pruned back to ensure re-growth in the right direction.

Block 3 – the first SW extension

Very tall hebe and karamu here had been badly snow-damaged, and F&B members had pruned them heavily about six weeks before, so at the joint workbee we removed any broken branches, to let in light and encourage the varied mixture of seedlings which had germinated underneath.   It was noted that some lacebarks which are not naturally occurring in the Wellington Region, Hoheria populnea, have been planted in this block and in the Bush.   They will be replaced at the next planting workbee.   Totara, kahikatea, matai and maire have grown well here and are of a good size now.   Regrettably the sole remaining naturally occurring mature kahikatea is now showing considerable canopy dieback after snow damage, and is not fruiting well.   However during the last 10 years, about 150 of its seedlings have been grown on and planted back, some into the TMB plantings, and some into other local restoration projects, so it has made a vital contribution to retaining the local presence of the kahikatea species.   It will be interesting to note how well its seedlings fare in the bouldery, well-drained Bush ecosystem.

Block 5 – the NE extension

This 3 m-wide strip planted along the Pony Club / Twin Lakes Road boundary, is coming along well, so we removed only gorse and broom.   When we first planted here in 2008, we deliberately chose a mixture of totara, kanuka and manuka, all unpalatable to rabbits and horses, for planting alongside the Pony Club fence.   The remainder of this strip has a broad mixture of species, including matai, black maire and kahikatea, grown on from seedlings sourced from the Bush itself.   Owing to a thriving rabbit population in this block, we now leave the long grass in place, because in 2008 we planted into bare soil and any palatable plants were promptly eaten right down to the top of the protective plastic hare-nets surrounding their lower 45 cm.   So although we remove woody weeds such as broom and gorse, we now leave the long grass, with good results.

Block 1 – the original Bush

August snow damage was very noticeable here.   Several older trees had either fallen or been severely damaged, with large amounts of their crowns snapped off, hinau, black maire and matai being worst affected.   The spraying and hand-weeding of tradescantia done by a contractor has been very effective and weed numbers were lower than usual, so this area was not a priority for the workbee.   There were good numbers of native seedlings, including tawa to 2m high, and we noted that tawa seems to be increasing as a component of the Bush.

Block 2 – the first planting

Previously under rank grass and other weeds for decades, the canopy here is now 3-4m high, shading out most weeds, so the area was not a priority for the workbee.

Participants :   Bruce Austin, Gavin Dench, Jenny Dolton, Chris Horne, Barbara Mitcalfe, (co-scribe), Sue Millar (Co-leader / co-scribe), Allan and Glennis Sheppard (Co-leader), Sunita Singh and Nathan Wickens (GW ranger on duty), who kindly took away our weeds and the rubbish we had collected).


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