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Trip Report – Te Marua Bush workbee, Upper Hutt

Trip Report – 13 June 2015 :   Te Marua Bush workbee, Upper Hutt

Despite a frosty start on our new, sunny, sheltered site, ten BotSoc and four Forest & Bird members soon removed outer layers of cold-weather clothing.

The newly-fenced planting is a triangle of uneven, sloping ground bordered by SH2, the Pony Club paddock, and immediately to the south, Te Marua Bush itself.   A few years ago the Kaitoke Regional Park ranger had planted along the highway boundary, some 1.5 to 3m-high manuka and totara, both non-palatable and secured by a good fence, so we were able to plant inside the new part, trees that would otherwise have been eaten by the horses.   However, to be on the safe side, we did plant a line of manuka and totara just inside the fence.

A total of eighty-nine plants propagated by F&B were put in, and the existing plants weeded.   All plants were staked and ‘hare nets’ were secured on juvenile plants palatable to hares, rabbits and possums.   Each plant also received a small amount of fertiliser as the area is stony with poor soil.

Earlier in the week, F&B members had visited the site and removed lupin, broom, blackberry, a large old climbing rose, and lots of rubbish.   We were pleased to find about ten young manuka (10-40cm high) that had self-seeded in a spot where there had been little grass growth to smother them.   These were marked to locate them for future weeding.

After such a long, hot, dry summer Te Marua Bush is still looking good.   There has been a lot of healthy, undamaged growth on established trees, owing largely to an absence of cicadas again this year, as in 2013.   Many of the huge number of emerging seedlings seen in spring have died, but a reasonable number have survived.   There was little seed seen on the mature canopy and emergent trees, and some seed that did set, fell off before ripening, owing to the long dry period.

Participants:   Co-leaders / scribes: Sue Millar and Glennis Sheppard.   Bruce Austin, Trudi Bruhlmann, Gavin Dench, Michele Dickson, Chris Horne, Ann Mitcalfe, Barbara Mitcalfe, Allan Sheppard, Graeme Sheppard, Sunita Singh, Roy Slack.

PS   We hope to see a good turnout of BotSoccers at the future Te Marua Bush workbees.   See programme for details.

Trip Report – 31 October 2015 :   Te Marua Bush workbee, Upper Hutt

A very good turnout of 18 BotSoc and Forest & Bird members meant we could weed and clear most of the old and recently planted areas, and collect seven big bags of rubbish blown or thrown in from Twin Lakes Rd and SH2.   We cut and pulled weeds from around the newer plantings, then laid the weeds down to provide a protective mulch to help smother emerging weeds, and slow evaporation during summer.   There has been much growth in the more recently planted part of the south-western area, with tree crowns intermingling, leaving only a few open spaces between them, so we selectively pruned the taller ones to allow the slower-growing ones to have light-wells to grow up through.

The north-eastern planting areas (i.e., the new triangle next to SH2, and the narrow strip between Twin Lakes Rd and the Pony Club paddock), showed the effects of a long, dry summer and cold winter – some plants had died or had been frost damaged, but most had survived and are growing well.

Within the original Bush, a large matai in the northeast near SH2, has died and shed large slabs of bark from its trunk.   Some of the large, old black maire have lost boughs, and one has fallen, leaving a noticeable gap in the canopy.   The black maire have not fruited for at least two years, which is unusual, though we did find some seedlings of white maire, and there are plenty of matai and totara seedlings.   At present, male matai are covered in pollen-bearing cones and are noticeably yellow.

We found seedlings of Griselinia littoralis emerging from under the manuka inside the fence by the gate into Te Marua Bush on Twin Lakes Rd.   These are likely to be a regular occurrence as there is a line of Griselinia across the road now producing fruit.

A 4-m-tall Hoheria populnea was removed along with its seedlings.   It was missed when others were removed from the same area last year.   This species of lacebark occurs naturally from Waikato to North Cape.   Elsewhere it is often planted as an ornamental.   It becomes a weed because of its prolific seeding and shade-tolerance.

Participants:   Bruce Austin, Trudi Bruhlmann, Barbara Clark, Steve Edwards (GWRC Ranger), Ian and Jill Goodwin, Richard Grasse, Bryan Halliday, Chris Horne, Brenda Johnston, Rodney Lewington, Sue Millar (co-leader / scribe), Barbara Mitcalfe, Lea Robertson, Allan, Graham and Glennis Sheppard (co-leader), Darea Sherratt.


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