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Staff find their green thumbs in native plant nursery

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​​A unique nursery dedicated to growing endemic plants is supporting efforts to manage and rehabilitate our precious wild environments.  ​

PWS staff at the Leven Field Centre in Ulverstone designed and built the nursery, which currently houses more than 20 species of locally endemic plants including Poa labillardieri, Rhagodia, Blackwood, Tetragonia, Correa, Pigface, Carex, Melaleuca ericifolia, monotoca and even a tomato plant for the gardeners!  

The nursery features an automatic sprinkler system that ensures the plants receive optimal hydration throughout the day.  

It is being expanded to include a hardening area next to the main structure to gradually acclimatise the more mature plants in order to get them ready for planting.  

Growing the plants from seeds also makes them stronger and more likely to survive once planted in the wild. It also provides greater flexibility by having the option to grow more unusual species which are harder to locate and purchase.  

Parks and Reserves Manager North-West Lara Connell said it was important to understand the role these plants play in the ecosystem.  

“Take Doctors Rocks in Wynyard, for example, where invasive weeds have taken over the area. Removing the weeds is one step but replacing them with natives which were originally there is the main goal,” she said.  

“A large penguin colony uses this site for their habitat and simply spraying the weeds would leave them vulnerable to predators and other threats. Timing is important as the natives must be planted among the dying vegetation in order to help the penguins with burrowing and establishing their new homes." 

“Replanting natives also increases biodiversity. It provides food for other insects and animals and helps to stabilise the soil.”  

Ranger in Charge Ben Hill led the construction of the new nursery and said it was already proving to be a useful tool.  

“The new nursery is a great asset for the field centre, allowing us to rehabilitate degraded landscapes using local endemic plant species that we’ve grown ourselves,” he said.  

“The project was only possible because our local staff have the enthusiasm, knowledge and skills to undertake both the construction work of the nursery and propagating the native plants.” ​​


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Published 16/02/2024