20 March 2016

March 2016

For those of you that have not met me I will quickly introduce myself. My name is Daniel Taylor and I started work here in late November after finishing my amenity horticulture apprenticeship with Wellington City Council. My job is to help our Curator Dan Haliday with the collections, plant maintenance, and generally anything plant orientated about the arboretum.

As there are a few new staff members we have spent our time settling in and working around the arboretum to get a grip and feel for the place. Everything seems simple at first but as we look at the details we begin to realize that there is a lot of work to be done and if we want to be successful we also need to keep an eye on the future and plan for that also. This includes the new cathedral which this update is primarily about.

Having started in late November I wasn’t here for the prep work, planting or initial plant care. The curator has filled me in on how it was accomplished. The steering committee and previous employees have done a great job of organizing and then implementing all of these early stages. Much kudos to them!

Since November I have watched most of these plants double in size! It amazes me how fast these young trees want to grow up. One of the first jobs we had to do was freeing up around a lot of the young trees as the weeds were starting to take over and smother them. This meant opening the protective cages, then hand weeding, and then closing the cages back up. A simple job but one that takes time when there are over one hundred trees. We have also added another layer of mulch around the plants inside the cage, and then placed more around the outside. This was primarily to help with water retention over the summer and help suppress the weeds. This has worked out favorably and we haven’t had to water them as regularly because of it, freeing up time to dive into other places around the arboretum.

Having the weeds suppressed has also led to a large reduction in the amount of spraying required to keep the weeds away. In the last month staking has started. While staking the trees we have also been keeping an eye out for any pruning that is needed. Trimming out double leaders and identifying possible issues at this early stage will ensure our trees

As for the actual growth of the young trees they are doing well. They have all put on a large amount of growth height wise. Although the Coastal Redwoods Sequoia sempervirens have had a slow start, they have started to take off in the last few weeks also. have strong growth and a long life while providing the effect we are looking for.

That’s everything in today’s update. Thanks everyone, I look forward to providing another update when time allows!

Daniel Taylor, Plant Collection Assistant