Subsidised poplars, willows up for grabs
Landowners keen to take advantage of a local authority scheme offering subsidised poplars and willows to help better control erosion and protect water quality need to get in quickly says the Northland Regional Council.
About 4000 three-metre poplar 'poles' will be available shortly to qualifying landowners for the looming winter planting season.
Councillor Joe Carr, who chairs the council's Environmental Management Committee, says the council sells the poles (which usually retail for more than $8 each) for just $5 (incl GST) provided landowners agree to a planting plan to ensure the trees are planted appropriately and future maintainance is allowed for.
He says they have been used extensively in Northland for many years to help prevent and control erosions, nutrient losses and decrease waterway pollution.
"Both species have extensive root systems which help bind soil and prevent erosion and council promotes their use both as part of its soil conservation and water quality work."
Interested landowners have until Friday May 29 to register an interest in securing some of the subsidised trees by contacting the council's Land Management Team directly on 0800 002 004 or visit nrc.govt.nz/poplars for information and an online ordering form.
Though non-native species, poplar and willow have fast growth rates, and typically the best time to plant the trees in Northland is June to mid-August.
The regional council set up a five hectare nursery in Flyger Rd, Mata, two years ago after becoming frustrated at the limited supply of suitable poles in Northland and being unable to find anyone able to grow large numbers on its behalf.
"Pole nurseries typically take three years to establish from scratch so all going well we will be able to harvest our first crop of several thousand poles for local use next year," says Cr Carr.
PLANTING PLAN: Poplar poles need soaking for up to ten days prior to planting.