What We Did In The Holidays

The Flood Creek Non-Nativist Landcare Group blog is a collaborative effort. We’re happy to publish your contributions as part of this Landcare Network discussion. See the collaborate-contribute page for a range of topic suggestions or get in touch to discuss your idea.

Here’s a new post from Mr. Peter Marshall (see introduction and background here) about continuing wetland restoration work at his family’s farm, ‘Sunningdale’, over the holiday period.

What We Did In The Holidays

Santa really hit the spot. He gave me a beautiful Empress Lotus in a tub.

Maybe he thought the tub wasn’t big enough. Because next day he sent one of his best elves at the controls of a 22 ton excavator.

6 hours later we had a much bigger planting place.

First we added another settling pond to the chain running down the big erosion gully.

A new link in the chain of ponds

Then pulled up some Poplars to harvest the roots for carving Katsinas.

Harvesting Cottonwood Roots

We put the poles into cold storage for planting in June.

Poplar in cold storage

Next the elf carved a new billabong on Vista Flat, complete with fox proof island and sloping approaches. The Snipe will love it.

Rosie's new wetland pond with island habitat

He set his levels from the water in the old drainage ditch (blocked by fascines to lift the water) and his lines from the traces of the silted up pre-gold mining wetlands.

We found an old river strand some 12 feet down. Must have been quite the Alaskan braided stream once upon a time.

Water bubbled up, the pond was full before sun down.

Happy New Year.


No Landcare Support Officers were intellectually challenged during the making of this wetland .

5 responses to “What We Did In The Holidays

  1. Peter, I had a comment from a local Landcarer yesterday who said he’d had opportunity to use your ‘cold storage’ technique almost immediately after he’d read this post. A large limb fell off a cottonwood on his property. He’s looking forward to establishing some more trees later in the year. This stuff is Landcare gold thank you!

  2. How large in diameter ?


  3. More than size is the type of limb makes a difference .

    Branches falling now are probably better fed to the stock , who adore the leaves and bark of poplars and willows . All those minerals and condensed tannins , delicious .

    It’s all about physiological ageing . I’ll explain a bit more .

    The poles which Rita is putting into cold storage were specially grown for replanting . They come from a treasured agroforest style poplar bred by Prof Pryor in the 60s .
    Strong apical dominance , long internodes , light side branching , thin bark .
    This gorgeous trees parents were destroyed by TAMS in Canberra ( they said they were a woody weed ) , so we are the custodians of the genetics .

    The poles were from 3 year coppice , correction pruned to maintain a cambium unimpeded by bud scars . We will plant them in May and they will grow like rockets come spring .

    In contrast any branches which fall this time of year are probably non apical side branches . They have lots of bud scars , impeded cambium and mixed signals from IAA pooling on their underside . Planted as cuttings they won’t thrive . Rather than forming a proper adult architecture they often end up just looking like a big branch .

    I suggest your colleague prepares some better stems now to plant as cuttings next winter .
    If they look up into the cottonwood tree they should see some more upright stems growing from epicormic buds ? These have the long stem and apical dominance to make good young trees .
    They can prepare more by pruning off some lower branches or bashing the bark with a mallet .This will activate more buried epicormics .

    What with the amazing rain these sprouts should grow fast enough to be big enough to cut off and plant this winter . Any spares will be broomstick size and even better by winter 2016 .

    Lets make a clinic on this subject part of the planting day with Mr Walls students ?



  4. Action producing self evident results…..heuristic learning at its best and simplest. Great post.

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