Weather. Since the last annual report in April 2005 the weather in the relevant places has been relatively uneventful from a forest grower's point of view. A very mild autumn and winter; an average spring; a below average rainfall summer and a cool wet autumn. Now a 'real' winter with lots of rain and some snow. Snow can damage pine plantations but yours is fine. We hope it remains that way and Spring follows early.
Mt Whitnow 'MW123' (100ha). These three forest stands are on classic Douglas-fir sites, being south facing high country. They have had quite a lot of snow this winter but that is no problem for Douglas-fir. Growth has been good over the last year or so and gradually these sites are looking more and more like forest. They will be four years old this Spring so are still in what we call the 'establishment' phase. Douglas-fir is much slower than Radiata pine in the first few years, growing at less than half the rate. But from here the growth rate should increase quite rapidly. Animal browse can be a problem in the early years for Douglas-fir while the plants are small. Possums and hares are the main culprits but sheep can be a problem if fencing is not up to scratch. We have had problems with the fences at Mt Whitnow and more work to improve them will be required this year.
Glens of Tekoa 'GT8' (28ha). This Douglas-fir stand is a year older than the Mt Whitnow ones and on a quite different site. Lower altitude, warmer and a higher rainfall but with broom to compete with. It will be interesting in the long run to compare it with the Mt Whitnow forest. Broadly speaking, GT8 is four basins, two large ones facing east and two smaller ones facing west, all formerly broom scrub. With the aid of selective herbicides the trees have grown above the competing re-growth and will accelerate their growth rate now. Over the next few years they will completely dominate, then eclipse the broom.
Ahuriri 'AH3' (30ha). Approaching five years old these GF Plus Radiata cuttings have become well established now and large areas will be ready to start pruning before the end of the coming growth season. Other areas competing with gorse re-growth are slower but only about a year behind the best areas. We will be doing some measurements and mapping of the variation in early summer to delineate the various growth areas and schedule pruning. The trace element boron, which aids nutrient uptake, was applied last summer. This is routine for pine in NZ.
WARREN FORESTRY Ltd