Restoration planting… or wild revegetation… for water absorption and soil stability

Tomorrow, Sunday, I will be taking the North Shore Wilds baby plants (still priced from $3) for their weekly outing to Eskdale Reserve:). We will as usual be near the Flame tree opposite the petrol station. I will set up there every Sunday by about 10am, and maybe some Saturdays, through the planting season (or while stocks last).

We have had a lot of discussions there with customers, Reserve visitors and passersby, lately about landslips, natural overland flows, Kaipatiki’s many named and unnamed streams (including those that only flow in winter), and how to deal with seasonal excesses of water in the garden.

Auckland Council has lots of info about “greenfields” stormwater management and the restoration of dense vegetation to absorb water and stabilize soil. Recently I read a study which found that ti kouka (Cordyline australis, cabbage tree) is particularly good at this job. Its roots grow quickly and deep, it doesn’t mind “wet feet”, and it is a fast grower.

It also attracts birds, including kereru, to its huge bunches of glossy black fruit.

You can easily raise as many ti kouka seedlings as you want, merely by refraining from spraying, mowing or disturbing unused ground, identifying everything that comes up, suppressing problematic weeds, and supporting the ti kouka seedlings with a mulch of anything around… which includes most of the weeds you have pulled out or squashed down.

See what a good job the ti kouka and karamu are doing around the plant stand in Gahnia Grove! Road runoff pours down this steep bank, but the trees are absorbing the impact of the raindrops, drawing a lot of the water down into the ground for storage till they need it in summer, and holding the soil together. The dense ground covering vegetation further softens the impact of the rain, preventing loss of surface soil.

Groundcovering plants here still include some of the remaining harmless wildflower weeds, which we maintain for this purpose until they get shaded out as the young trees become dense.

More info about chemical-free weed control and ecological restoration of your garden at

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