Ecosystems Management

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Re-Vegetation Research Project at Duck Creek Farm Report 2

Client: Auckland Regional Council

Date:  2 June 2006

Brief:   To establish and to evaluate a protective vegetation cover on disturbed sites by means of hydromulching

Report number 2 on the results of re-vegetation by means of hydromulching at Duck Creek Farm

The site
A northerly facing cut face of an angle exceeding 45 degrees approximately 90 x 2.5 metres. Due to the northerly aspect and the steep angle of the slope the site tends to remain dry even during periods of high precipitation.

Date seeded
1 June 2006

Evaluation of the site on the 8 August 2006

Observations made
During the four weeks following the last inspection the site received frequent and adequate precipitation interspersed with clear sunny weather. It rained heavily on the two days preceding the inspection. It was still raining on the day of the inspection. No night frosts were recorded during the entire period.

Mechanical support given to most of the bank by the hydromulch has remained good, the mulch has maintained excellent adhesion to the surface, in no areas whatsoever has it washed off, even on the steepest slopes.

On the steepest driest sections of the slope there has been further mechanical failure where whole sections of the upper the bank have become dislodged together with their mulch coating. It has become quite clear that exceeding the angle of repose on these sections is responsible for the collapse of the upper portions of the bank. This can be clearly seen in the accompanying photographs.

On inspection of the site it was found that good growth has occurred on the lower two thirds of most of the slope. On the upper third of the slope the germination has been much slower and growth has not been nearly as vigorous us on the lower two thirds.

The more Northwest facing sections of the site have continued to shown slightly inferior results, this is no doubt due to the fact that they receive more sun and dry out more quickly. Although it had rained heavily for two days prior to the inspection much of this section of the slope remained fairly dry.
Some germination of the legumes has already occurred, however at this stage it is not possible to determine which species. No germination of the other seed has occurred to date. Germination of Agrostis capillaris (bent grass) has been far superior to that of all the other species planted so far, especially on the drier upper sections of the slope. Although the upper sections of much of the slope appear to be bare in the photographs a considerable amount of Agrostis capillaris has germinated, the plants are however much smaller than those that germinated much earlier lower down.

300 g of Nitrophoska 12% N, 10% P, 10%K, 4.6 % Ca, 1.2 % Mg fertilizer was distributed on the slope immediately above the mulched area in a strip approximately .5m wide.

In conclusion
The results so far are more than satisfactory. The fertilizer and potassium humate which has been applied has had a very noticeable effect on plant growth, this has resulted in the much improved vigour of the existing plants of Plantago lanceolata growing on the slope as well as having resulted in the germination of a large number of seeds of Taraxacum officionale (dandelion) and to a lesser extent Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy) at the base of the slope, seed that had no doubt been lying dormant in the soil.

Michael Hickman
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duck creek 2_2

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duck creek 2_3

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