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Published: 2008-05-21 00:00:00

Discounted native trees and shrubs offered for environmental restoration projects by Environment Waikato have gone like hotcakes this year.

Farmers, landcare groups and Environment Waikato have ordered 80,000 plants, most of which will be planted beside rivers, streams and wetlands.  They will help to stabilise erosion-prone areas, reduce flood risks, improve water quality and create more habitat for native plants and animals.

Environment Waikato takes plant orders on behalf of land owners and care groups every year and puts huge orders through local nurseries.  The council also orders plants for its own environmental restoration projects.

“By buying in bulk through our contacts we can get native plants at excellent rates, giving people great bang for their buck,” Environment Waikato River and Catchment Services Committee chair Andra Neeley said.

“We are helping to get more trees planted in riparian zones around the region and we know they’re good quality, so everyone wins.”

More than 130 farmers and groups have ordered plants this year and they will be picked up from three collection points around the region this week.

There are 40,000 plants awaiting pick up in Hamilton, 11,000 in Te Aroha and 32,000 in the Coromandel.

The council is grateful to Hamilton airport staff, who are storing the trees for free and keeping them watered.

There are a variety of species, including cabbage trees, kahikatea, flaxes and grasses, supplied by eight Waikato nurseries.

“Last year we sourced 68,000 plants for farmers, care groups and Environment Waikato projects, so to have 83,000 ordered this year is fantastic,” Cr Neeley said.

Environment Waikato Coromandel land management officer Emily O’Donnell said the response from land owners had been overwhelming.

“They’ve been thrilled with the quality of the plants and lots are really enthusiastic about doing more plantings next year.  We had more orders than we could fill and it’s been really heartening to have so much support for the project.”

This is the third year the discounted native plant offer has been run in the region.

If you are interested in planting trees to improve natural waterways on your property, please call 0800 800 401 and ask for your local land management officer.