A pleasing propogation

A pleasing propogation

September 2016 | Lorraine Clarke

UNDER THE banner of the Small Farm Living Program, Oliver Strutt of The Understorey Network (USN) and Kate Thorn of Natural Resource Management North (NRM), recently held a native plant propagation workshop in Westbury.

This was attended by 15 locals living in town, on hobby farms or larger rural properties, all eager to learn how to grow their own endemic species from seeds and cuttings.

Some people opt to landscape their gardens only with Tasmania’s indigenous plants.

Restoration of native habitat’s is crucial for the survival of many wildlife species.

The forty-spotted pardalote, one of our most endangered birds, is reliant on stands of white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) which are becoming depleted. This is the focus of a USN project funded by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program.

Volunteers in the project enjoy raising native grasses, herbs, bushes and trees from seed for others to plant.  Native seeds are collected by bush walkers in summer and degraded environments are revegetated at low cost with home-grown seedlings.

It is important to preserve plants and trees endemic to one’s own locality as they are the best-adapted, so have the optimum chance of survival.

In rural areas, Tasmanian forest species serve multiple purposes, as windbreaks for crops and livestock, biodiverse native habitat corridors, honeybee forage, beautifying the surroundings, property value enhancement, and perhaps eventual timber harvest.

Oliver assured workshop participants that growing their own plants from seed or cuttings is easy and fun.

Seed raising mix and tree tubes were supplied for prospective members at the workshop to sow their own choice of native plants and trees. Surprisingly, some Tasmanian natives readily grow from cuttings, and a selection of leafy branches was dissected and potted up.

Oliver also distributed some fast-growing Goodia lotifolia seedlings he had sown a few months earlier, so everybody left the workshop with useful information, armloads of potential new plants, and confidence to practice these skills at home.

Annual membership of $44.00 gives access to USN’s many benefits such as field days and workshops, a handbook, learning propagation skills, and materials to grow up to 250 seedlings for your own use or for others.

Kate Thorn also invited participants to join NRM’s Smallholding Property Management Program, whose aim is to encourage and support sustainable land use and management on properties of about 1 to 100 ha, helping landowners to realise the potential of their properties.

A site visit by NRM staff is invaluable for assisting in identifying issues and actions on the ground, particularly those relating to environmental management.

Limited funding is available for provision of e.g. coreflute tree guards, to USN members who grow up to 250 of their own trees. To find out more contact USN on 0407 352 479 or NRM on (03) 6333 7777.