Landowners with erosion-prone properties from Topuni north can get orders for poplar poles and willows into the Northland Regional Council by the end of this month for this winter's planting season.
The fast-growing trees have broad and binding root systems and have been widely used for years to prevent and control erosion, and cut waterway sediment pollution. Although the species used aren't native, they're favoured because their rapid growth rates mean they can be starting to control erosion within as little as three years.
Every year the council invites Northlanders with erosion-prone properties to order heavily-reduced poles from its 13-hectare Mata nursery for the winter planting season, with the best time to plant the trees typically during June and July.
Orders for the 2019 planting season are open now, but with limited pole numbers – and increasing demand across Northland – demand always exceeds supply. The council says demand is likely to be even higher than usual this year, with central government heavily promoting its own planting initiatives through the One Billion Trees initiative.
NRC has made some changes to the way it allocates poles to improve the overall delivery and success of its erosion control efforts and is also working to boost pole numbers, including further expansion of its Mata nursery by another 4ha over the next 12 months.
A new nursery co-ordinator, Matthew Mabbitt, has also been hired to oversee the nursery operation. He's one of a number of new land management staff hired under the council's Long Term Plan 2018-2028, which has an increased emphasis on water quality and soil conservation.
The council will initially be charging the full $12 + GST cost of a three-metre pole up front, as well as a small fee for delivery to the farm gate.
Landowners will also need to have a free farm environment plan or planting plan, provided through NRC, completed for their property to qualify.
After planting, council staff will check to confirm it has been carried out as specified by the plan and, depending on where properties are located and what funding landowners are eligible for, either half – or all – the poles' purchase price will be refunded.
Everything people need to know about establishing poplars and willows is also available from the council's website: www.nrc.govt.nz/poplars