In the following editions I will introduce a brief guide to the most useful native trees to plant along farm drains.
Later I would like tell you about some of the less common trees and shrubs characteristic of this area which lend resilience and interest to planted areas.
Large parts of what is now the Waikato lowlands were once covered in very rich productive forest dominated by our tallest tree, kahikatea. Low lying land in this area has a history of regular and sometimes massive flooding which suits kahikatea well. Kahikatea establishes well after major floods, growing quickly for such a large tree and will stand being under water for months at a time.
Using native trees like kahikatea for shelter and along drains helps preserve them in this landscape. Planting ecosourced trees— ones grown from local stock — helps preserve those characteristics specific to this area.
Kahikatea fruit prolifically so will attract native birds, particularly tui and kereru. This helps with the natural dispersal of native trees, shrubs and plants.
Plant kahikatea trees at least four metres apart. Along farm drains this may mean planting only along one side or alternating them. Kahikatea cope well with wet feet but are not so good in the dry.
Unlike many trees, Kahikatea need full sunlight to thrive, but given ideal conditions they do grow well. Kahikatea will not however grow up under existing trees.