Riparian plantings and new deer paddocks

Riparian plantings and new deer paddocks

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Having retired some of the riparian areas within the deer farm, we asked ourselves what we could do to enhance these areas, both from an aesthetic and functionality perspective. Left alone, some of these areas would revert to gorse; not a preferred option. We discussed this with Landcorp’s Gordon Williams. Gordon oversees Landcorp’s environmental management across all its farm. He told us about their programme of initial planting of riparian and other retired areas with Manuka strains selected for high activity index (Manuka honey)…this clearly serves two functions, one is restorative vegetating of high-risk areas and the other is a potential revenue earner in the future. Manuka is a native shrub that naturally colonises degraded areas and can act as a ‘nursery’ for the establishment of other trees and shrubs.

As Landcorp was just starting its planting programme for the year, Gordon generously offered to include Invermay in its local planting programme. This saw the planting of nearly 4000 manuka plants within our retired areas within the deer farm.

Planting manuka in riparian zones above the Crocodile Stream.

It was a very dry summer following the spring planting, and in some drier sites the establishment rate was low (20%), but on moister sites it was about 80%. Two years on, the established plants are really bulking up. Within the next 2-3 years we plan to start planting other natives between the Manuka plants.

We have an established planted site already…it is called ‘Poppa’s Patch’ (after the nickname of one of Invermay’s environmental scientists…who prefers to remain anonymous). It was initially planted with mainly natives in 2007 following the fencing-off of a very large wallow higher in the stream headwaters (part of a study looking at the effects of deer wallows on waterway contamination…see link). This site shows the aesthetic value of planting around degraded sites.

Established riparian plantings below an old wallow site on the Invermay Deer Farm. Newly planted manuka in the foreground.

Selection of native plants used including toi toi, flax, totara, pittosporum and cabbage tree.

Well established cabbage trees planted in 2007.

Canopy of pittosporum and broadleaf established after planting in 2007.