Free propagation workshop to support landowners battling wilding pines

On Saturday 29 October 2022 ten lucky locals attended our latest free plant propagation workshop where they learned how to grow their own native plants from seed. The workshop was delivered once again by legendary horticulturist Jo Wakelin, and kindly hosted by Amy and Jason Menard at the Menards Ecosanctuary on Manuka Terrace. Thanks to generous funding from Wilding Pine Network we have been able to offer these free workshops periodically to landowners who are actively managing wilding pines on their properties.

The benefits of removing wilding pines are huge, particularly on properties in the rural/urban fringe such as those along North West Arch and Manuka Terrace, Twizel. One of the biggest benefits is reduced fire hazard. Maintaining large defendable open spaces around houses and sheds is critical for maximising the chance of them surviving in the event of a wildfire. As the impacts of climate change intensify the Mackenzie Basin is set to become even hotter and drier than it already is, with wildfire events likely to become much more common.

Another significant benefit of removing wilding pines is increased availability of ground water. Many landowners beyond the boundary of the town water supply are reliant on bore water for day-to-day use. Wilding pine infestations soak up a large portion of ground water leaving less available to maintain healthy underground aquifer levels, meaning that over time if wilding pine infestations are left to mature existing bores may run dry and river levels may drop significantly.

It should also be noted that wilding pines don’t just affect the properties they are growing on. Their seeds are very lightweight and can be blown downwind for up to 40km, potentially affecting every piece of land along the way.

There is often a reluctance from landowners to remove wilding pines when they are providing shade, shelter, and privacy. However, there are many suitable alternatives that can be planted to achieve the same benefits without the negative impacts on fire safety, water availability and neighbouring properties.

The harsh Mackenzie environment can be particularly challenging to establish new plantings in, so our workshops provide an opportunity for landowners to learn a range of tips and tricks about how to improve the success of plantings in the wake of wilding pine removal. They also equip attendees with the knowledge and practical skills to grow their own plants from seed.

Please get in touch if you are actively managing wilding pines on your own property and are interested in joining us for future workshops.

Posted: Thu 16 Feb 2023