Further to our letter dated 15 March 2005, we are pleased to report as follows:
Not a bad season
The Canterbury weather in the last 12 months has been pretty good from a forest grower's point of view. Except spring could have been a bit warmer.
We had a mild autumn and winter; a cool wet spring; a very wet first half to summer and a moderately dry second half; now a mild, sunny, still autumn. Until the other day!
Less wind than average and lots of rain in December have been excellent for growth and form, particularly your Douglas-fir which does most of its growing in November, December and January.
Forest Stand Progress
Your Douglas-fir forest, which is in three stands at Mt Whitnow (aged 2.7) and one at Glens of Tekoa (aged 3.7), is all quite visible now. Unlike Radiata pine, Douglas-fir is a lot slower growing in the first few years, has a sparser form, and is a paler shade of green. Therefore it is only at about this stage one can see what looks like a fairly empty or weedy site, is really a forest in the making.
Douglas-fir is also more vulnerable to animal browse in the early years, particularly its buds in autumn and winter. Possums are probably the worst culprits but hares are bad too. Possum numbers are now very low on both properties, as comprehensive poisoning to combat Bovine Tb has been carried out in large areas of North Canterbury. That campaign is slowly working and as a side effect, the region's flora and fauna (except marsupials) are benefiting significantly.
Your Radiata Clearwood regime at Ahuriri (aged 3.9) is doing well and continues to get ahead of the competing gorse. It is on target to have its first pruning lift in two years time. There has been no toppling to date, which is a risk with Radiata at around this age. Part of the reason we chose aged cuttings was to lower this risk, as they have a slighter form and better roots. We hope this coming winter is not unusually wet and windy.
If you have any queries about anything, or want more information, please don't hesitate to contact us at any time.
WARREN FORESTRY Ltd