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Trip Report – Te Marua Bush workbee

Trip Report – 20 March 2016 :   Te Marua Bush in the drought

The following informal notes were made on 20-3-2016 during a brief visit to the Main Bush.   Owing to time constraints, none of the planted extension areas were included.

Deep shade in the Main Bush has been successful in keeping the vegetation alive.   Even the big trees such as matai, totara and maire appear healthy.   The exception is the large dead matai near the NE corner which was commented on in the December newsletter, but GWRC staff think it is highly unlikely that its death is drought-related, because the tree has been dying for years.   The trunk is still standing but is completely without bark, which is strewn in large sheets on the ground, and there is no foliage.   Other matai with d.b.h. between c. 25-40cm in the immediate vicinity appear perfectly healthy.

There was evidence of drought on many of the following 2-3 year-old saplings, ranging from wilt, to dead or dying foliage: Brachyglottis repanda, Coprosma grandifolia, C. robusta, Veronica stricta, Melicytus ramiflorus, Myrsine australis, and Pseudopanax arboreus.   Those saplings that die will easily be replaced naturally, given that there has always been a plentiful supply of seedlings germinating in spring.   Ground ferns in the deeply shaded areas of the Main Bush are holding up well.

Barbara Mitcalfe

Sue Millar, Glennis and Allan Sheppard sent in the following notes on 28-4-2016:

Twelve of the (50?-60?) plants put in on our 31.10.15 workbee have died, almost certainly from drought.   There are no “lawns” of black maire seedlings in the Main Bush, another drought casualty?   There is an excellent crop of fruit on coprosma species for Forest & Bird to propagate.

Trip Report – 23 July 2016 :   Te Marua Bush workbee

Thirteen members of BotSoc and Forest & Bird worked through the planted areas of the bush to find and remove any weeds and rubbish.   New plants were added to fill gaps where needed on the western side.   The GWRC weed team had recently done a very good job of weeding and spraying, so only a few small patches still need intensive treatment, e.g., Alstroemeria and Crocosmia / montbretia.

The newest planting, in the corner of what was part of the pony paddock, beside SH2, still has some blackberry and lupin emerging, and a climbing rose is still producing a few shoots.   Ten new plants were added here to replace losses caused by last summer’s drought, but most are still growing.   Numerous tiny, self-sown, manuka seedlings are rising through the grass sward.

In the most southerly planting, ten more plants were put into gaps, and existing plants which have grown really well were checked to make sure the slower-growing totara, matai, kahikatea, and black maire had good light-wells around them.   Pruning was done where needed.   Some blackberry was removed, also a ranunculus and Alstroemeria.   A low- growing weed (Geranium sp.?), first noticed near the gate last year, had spread nearly right across the planting to SH2.   It has soft foliage and it should be possible to spray it out if that is found necessary.

The older part of the southern planting has opened up as the trees have aged and the hebes and Coprosma robusta show more dead branches, allowing more light through.   Dead branches were removed and cut up to lie on the ground, allowing the many emerging seedlings to grow through without being scratched up by birds.   The pruning done here over the years to let the light through to the slower-growing trees is showing the benefits now, as these trees are a good size and are coming through the original canopy of faster-growing species.   They will form a more permanent canopy in a few years.   The replacements for the understorey, a good mix of self-seeded trees, are already growing.

At the end of the morning we emerged from the calm and shelter inside the bush, to find that the rather doubtful earlier weather had turned into a very windy and wet day - a good moment to head home!

Participants : Kim Broad (GWRC), Trudi Bruhlmann, Michelle Dickson, Steve Edwards (GWRC), Chris Horne, Sue Millar, (co-leader / scribe), Barbara Mitcalfe, Hugh and Lea Robertson, Allan, Glennis (coleader) and Graeme Sheppard.


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