Our new piece of land has a prevailing wind pattern from the south, so a while ago we decided to plant a shelter belt of natives on our southern boundary.
Using Flax, Ribbonwood, Hebe, Karo, Olearia, Kowhai and Manuka we aimed to plant a double row that went the whole length of the fence (approx. 50 metres).
I did some research online, and we bought trees from a local plant nursery that was closing down in Coromandel, as well as buying 100 plants from Full Bloom Nursery near Hamilton.
The biggest challenge was getting all the plants to fit in my little car!
The process was to:
> mark out the area where we were
going to plant the natives (making sure they weren’t too close the fence and the hungry cows on the other side),
> put up shade netting on the fence so the young plants didn’t get scorched by the sun,
> mow the grass and dig holes for the plants, adding a small handful of blood and bone to each hole, and
> plant the natives and cover the grass around each plant with cardboard (free from Four Square!). Here are Duncan and I hard at work.
We then covered the cardboard with mulch, and put in a watering system. ‘How do we know where the watering holes are on the pipe?’ I asked. ‘Oh! The watering holes get pushed in once you have laid the pip out on the ground!’ Clever, eh?
We also planted a couple of larger puriri trees at the same time, to replace a couple of trees that had been removed (one a puriri that was taken out before we bought the land, and one a blackwood that was unfortunately exactly where we wanted to put the building).
And hey presto, one shelter belt!
A few months on… and the trees are doing really well. In retrospect, we should have planted them even further from the fence, as man, those cows can reach! But we have only lost a couple of plants and all the others are growing vigorously, so we are very pleased. What’s the next job? Oh yes, build a house!