Preparation for Tree Planting

Preparation has two aspects to it.  The existing vegetation has to be cleared away, and "extra" items required for each plant have to be bought and made ready.

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Land clearance is done by spraying and cutting down, often both.  Gorse and blackberry are nasty things to get rid of and have to be sprayed to kill the roots before they can be removed.  Dead, their thorns puncture you better than when they are alive.  They shrink as they dry, and the pins turn into needles.

Only trained people can do this.  John Hodges of the Friends is in charge of the work of removing gorse and the like, and the Weed Control Team from Regional Council come along and spray Japanese Honeysuckle, Old Man's Beard, and other noxious plants too.

When the land is cleared, planting can take place.  More recently (since 2009), the planting process has been made easier for volunteers, by having thousands of holes pre-dug using a hired posthole borer.

Planting Preparations

Complete care

Seedling with collar, staples and plastic tube

Each tree seedling that goes in the ground is liable to be overwhelmed by weeds, or attacked by rabbits and hares, or battered by the weather.

To prevent the weeds from growing up right next to the plant and depriving it of light, a cardboard "collar" has to be made.  This is a square of cardboard, with a hole in the middle and a slit from one side to the hole.  This is placed around the stem to cover the ground.  This will rot in time, but not before the tree has grown taller than the weeds can.

To protect the plant from rabbits and hares, a construction kit for a "hare net" has to be prepared.  This consists of two square-cornered "staples" hammered into the ground at right-angles to each other and around the tree, and a plastic tube to be placed around the lot.  When the tree is big enough, these are removed.

To protect the plant from strong winds, a stake has to be driven into the ground next to it and the seedling tied to it.

For each tree seedling, a collar, two "wire staples" and a plastic tube have to be there on the day.  And if it's a windy site, a stake and tying cord has to be there too.

And that's not all.  Although the weeds can't grow tall right next to the seedling, they can do that all around it.  Seedlings can disappear among the weeds and after-care requires that they be regularly checked to ensure that the collar and hare net are still in good condition.

Where the weeds are likely to hide the seedling, white-tipped bamboo stakes, tall enough to stick up higher than the weeds, are prepared.  These are stuck into the ground next to the seedling as marker stakes.

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