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Weeding in the Drought

The waterfall at the top of the valley has stopped flowing and the stream bed is dry after nearly two months of no decent rainfall in the area.

Trish and I weeded for three hours at the top of the valley in the more aptly named dry-land rather than wetland area.

The weeds came out quite easily  and we filled one of the large black weed bags in no time at all.

In the afternoon Jo Evans and I met with Darryll Hollamby, a roading engineer and technical services support person for the paper roads in the Rodney area.

The responsibility for weed control on council owned paper roads has been passed around a bit and, according to Darryll, there is next to no money available to manage these areas of land.

We showed him the area of concern and he said he would endeavour to look into the problem but made no promises that funding would be made available.

Summer holidays 2012/13

In sharp contrast to last summer, there has been very little rain and a total fire ban has been put in place.   It was too hot to do much weeding during the day so Chris and I set off early in the morning to attack privet and moth plant on McMullin’s property.  Our war against privet in other areas of the valley has been extremely successful with lots of regeneration evident.

Sue Crawshay from Trees for Survival carried out her annual inspection of the plants and was impressed with the healthy specimens.  We look forward to working with Trees for Survival again during 2013 on McMullin’s, Wainwright’s and Wyatt’s properties.

Despite advanced spraying, bind weed has again taken hold of the plants in the wetland area on our property and within the valley.  Further hand releasing was carried out and follow-up spraying will be necessary.

Unfortunately something has attacked the weedbags which were located in the Dingle’s wetland area.  It is uncertain as to whether birds, rats or a pig have made numerous holes in the bags.  I contacted the manufacturer who was interested in the feedback which will assist him with product development.   The holes were sealed with masking tape and some of the bags have been shifted to the Watkinson’s property where a major weeding effort is taking place.

Our application to fence Wyatt’s property has been successful and a further application is underway for wetland plants for the Gundy’s wetland area and the valley.

Weeding Wetland Area

The trees planted in April on the Dingle’s wetland area are thriving (and so are the weeds).  When I visited the area a few weeks ago, the trees were all visible but there had been a burst of spring weed growth and you could barely find the plants.  Thanks to Sue Gibbings and Jo Evans meticulous weeding efforts, the plants are now cleared and ready for spraying.

Chris planted another 30 flaxes kindly donated by A1 Landscaping Services and also sprayed McMullin’s property.  The trees are also thriving – with a 95% survival rate.

Planting the Steep slopes

This was our first planting effort for several months and we were determined to plant the 500 trees left over from the Trees for Survival planting day which had been nurtured at the Takapuna Intermediate school nursery.   Many thanks to Keith, Richard, Arthur, Anna and Soxi (two university students from the Leigh Marine Laboratory) who assisted on Saturday pm.  Anna and Soxi were the most energetic and enthusiastic volunteers we have had to date and we were amazed at their level of fitness and  how quickly they worked.

Unfortunately a lot of time was wasted digging through the kikuya which should have been sprayed several weeks ago.  Despite the wet winter, the soil was surprisingly dry in parts.

Trish arrived on Sunday morning along with her grandson Damian and his friend Scott (two delightful young men) who worked hard and transported all the trees down to the wetland area, saving our poor aging knees.  We managed to plant all the remaining trees on Sunday afternoon and this morning thanks to Keith’s dogged determination and Chris’s assistance with the weedeater.  Our backs and knees were certainly feeling it by the time we had finished.  The next job will be releasing the previously planted trees which are being strangled by kikuya and many other varieties of weeds.


Trees for Survival Planting Day

After several days of heavy rainfall it was a perfect day for our Trees for Survival planting day with Takapuna Intermediate.

A lovely group of children,  parents and volunteers from Takapuna Rotary planted just over 500 trees.

Thank you to all our volunteers and a special thanks to Takapuna Rotary and Takapuna Intermediate.

Sorting plants for Trees for Survival

We were rather surprised to discover that the trees we had delivered to Leigh for the planting day on Friday 27 July had not been counted.

We had made the mistake of taking them out of their crates in order to do 2 trips instead of 4, thereby saving travelling costs.

Thanks to Trish and Arthur for their help with sorting, counting and shifting the plants.  It took four of us 3 hours to complete this task.  Arthur spent another two hours the following day transporting the remaining trees to the planting site.

Next time we will leave them in their crates!

Conservation Volunteers

A last minute booking was made with Conservation Volunteers who offered a special deal:

The team consisted of 8 volunteers.  Team leader Dawn Gasparro,  Lydia Doerig (Switzerland), Virginie Dubois (Belgium), Sophie Laroque (Germany), Robyn Dempsey (UK), Joe Adey (UK).  I thought I noted a look of disappointment on their faces when they arrived at our little cottage and later discovered their previous accommodation had been a luxury lodge in the South Island with individual rooms!

The remainder of the morning and early afternoon was spent working at the bottom of Sir Duncan McMullin’s property – mainly pulling out privet.  Many thanks to Rupert Harrison for all his help.  What a back breaking job.  Sadly Chris and I had to return to Auckland.  We have given the volunteers a list of jobs including digging out ginger behind the brown cottage, and planting the wetland area.  We look forward to seeing what they achieve.

Preparation for Trees for Survival

8/7/12 – A glorious day in paradise and perfect weather for weeding  in preparation for the forthcoming planting day with Trees for Survival volunteers.  Our trusty volunteer, Richard Taylor was the only person who turned up.  Chris got to work with his weed eater.  Richard and I got to work with our Niwashis.  My ears pricked up when I heard a car stop at the top of the hills and doors opening and shutting, only to discover it was a couple collecting firewood.  After 2 1/2 hours the area was prepared for the planting day scheduled for 27 July.

Preparation for Trees for Survival Planting

Chris and I collected the first trailer load of trees from Takapuna Intermediate on Saturday, 16 June and delivered them to Leigh on Monday morning so they could acclimatize before the scheduled planting day on 27 July.

There are approximately 600 more to collect.  They are healthy specimens and considerably taller than the ones planted last year.

Grammar Rowers make a dent in the Tradescantia

This was one of our most successful planting weekends so far, thanks to the sunny, calm weather and the brute strength of 6 enthusiastic Auckland Grammar rowing boys.

The morning of day one was spent clearing weeds and planting on Julie Turner’s property (cnr Tenetahi and Pakiri Rds).

The afternoon was spent shifting plants down to the valley and rolling/bagging Tradescantia.

On day two we returned to the valley and spent another 2 hours planting and filling 9 of the 10 bags.

The boys spent a further 2 hours weeding and planting on the Lees/Scotts property.

Thanks to our volunteers Jo Evans and Sue Gibbings, Richard Taylor, Rupert Harrison, Julie Turner, Dexter, Narvin, Felix, Niklas, Chris and Zeke.

Thanks also to the Mums who assisted with preparing meals and to the Lees and Scotts who kindly offered their cottage as accommodation for the volunteers.

Further weeding and spraying was carried out on Monday morning before heading back to Auckland.