Rank grass is better than none

Well it looks and feels like a good start to Autumn/Winter this year around North Waikato, Auckland and Northland. We’ve had well over 200mm spread over the last six weeks here in North Waikato. Soil levels are good. As we run into winter a few of our clients have been busy weed spraying. We’ve come across a couple of ‘oopsy’ moments where their staff have been being working on weed control around the drains and under fence lines.

Take a look in the picture attached – not only has the fence line been sprayed (7 wire wetland boundary) but also the planted out drain and bank that is clearly part of the wetland, which is pegged and fenced.

On this property all drains have been completely sprayed out. The other drains have been fenced but not planted out yet. The rank grass that grows and forms along the edge and along the banks play a role in minimising run off. It assists in filtering paddock runoff and helps to stabilise the stream bank preventing erosion – particularly during the winter months when flooding is prevalent. Once erosion starts it can quickly erode back to the fence line, resulting in the fence falling, requiring replacement.

We advocate that Native Planting in this area is the most sustainable environmental solution (to read more about Intensive Native Planting benefits – (https://nativeawa.com/intensive-native-planting-nz-native-plants/) however where this has not been done, or is not part of the current budget, we recommend that you work to retain the rank grass in these areas.

Share this knowledge with your workers, keep weeds at bay through the middle of the drain so water flows freely and to just under the fence line. Once the drains and streams are fenced if they’re not planted straight away, leave the rank grass there until the budget allows.

Robert Shearer of NativeAwa