Hello, just a quick update on the activities of Generationtrees. The trees that you purchased (if you did already or are considering it...) are booked at the local nursery, ready to be picked up in May-June (planting season) when the weather is more favorable for planting in New Zealand. I also started collecting fruits and seeds from our home bush and cleaning them, preparing them and packing them into the fridge for a few weeks waiting to plant them in our home-nursery or spread them on the land, depending on the species.
In the meanwhile I’ve been preparing the land making space for new trees by clearing it from weeds including re-growing pines (which are considered a pest since they do not belong to New Zealand environment). I killed a total of 10,616 pines, which gives an idea of the space for new growing trees. In general planted trees are spaced to get a density of ca. 1,000/ha, thus for this land it would be about 20,000 trees, i.e. I’m almost half way in clearing the land from these invaders. I also killed 673 gum trees, 565 of the terrible moth plants (including 202 pods ready to burst to create even more of these pests), 65 whoolly nightshade, 25 banana passionfruit and 70 small pampas grass, in a total of 64 hours, which include some help from 3 volunteers so far.
Pines are quite annoying to clear and sometimes very hard if they are more than 6 feet tall, especially with a pruning saw, which is what I use. So it’s a bit (hugely!) tiring, but in 1.5 hours I can cut about 500 trees, if the majority are small trees (less than 50 cm height). However, the banana passionfruit and the moth plants are real pests and hard to see if they are not flowering and really really hard to pull away from the plants they shamelessly grow on. It is also difficult to find the generating root, which I need to cut and poison. These plants have been brought in from somewhere else than NZ, most probably intentionally and there are people who still enjoy eating banana passionfruit, but I wonder if they are aware of the damage they create on native flora: smothering, covering bush and strangling tress in their growth.
You really do not want them on your land. How did they get to this place, which is surrounded by beautiful native bush? The most direct culprits are the forestry machinery that bring in in their tyres and hardware all sort of infesting pests, from moth plant to passionfruit to wholly nightshade, gorse and the lot. Inheriting (by purchase) a land that was once a pine forestry means acquiring all these aggressive weeds and becoming a threat to neighbours in the doing. Indeed, fast and surely these plants will arrive into neighbours' land, carried by winds (moth) and birds (passionfruit, whooly nightshade).
So be aware, be careful, and clean your land for your and your neighbour’s sake.
Luckily the S.W.A.Tutukaka team is helping landowners like me to eliminate these pests with the support from trained volunteers, providing poisons and tools and knowledge. I will probably have some help in this field!
Also, I am expecting a foreign visitor form New Caledonia who will come to help for a month and learn about regeneration of ecosystems. Wonderful! We will be able to run some basic assessments of regrowth on the land and run tests on this new land and our home bush. I cannot wait!