Ecological restoration can look untidy, but that’s just nature doing its job.

That’s the message from the Christchurch City Council red zone team as they prepare for the spring flush after a busy native planting season.

Council staff, rangers, organisations, community groups and volunteers have placed an estimated 45,000 native plants through the Ōtākaro Avon River Corridor (OARC) Regeneration Area this planting season, primarily in the Dallington, Waikakariki/Horseshoe Lake and Burwood areas.

Residential red zone manager, David Little, says as these new plants – and the vegetation surrounding them – grow quickly during the warmer spring and early summer months, it can make the areas look untidy.

“We have scheduled volunteer maintenance days and we’ll ensure the bases of the seedlings have mulch and are free of choking undergrowth, but these areas can look unkempt until the natives grow taller than the surrounding grass and shrubs,” says Mr Little

“We regularly remove the grass around each plant so the seedlings can get their fair share of sun and moisture. At the same time, leaving the grass long in-between plants acts a nursery, helps keep the soil cool and retains moisture around the plants.”

Meanwhile rangers will signpost strategically-placed mulch piles around the OARC, so that walkers and passers-by can help mulch nearby seedlings and plants this summer.

“Any help we can get from the public makes a big difference,” says Mr Little.

“As well as making mulch available for spreading, we’re planning some maintenance days in the OARC. These are great opportunities for people to volunteer and give back to the community, while helping us restore the ecology and biodiversity of this remarkable area.”

Mr Little says the busy spring flush can also mean the Council has to prioritise some maintenance tasks over others.

“This is always the busiest time for our parks staff, who pull out the stops to ensure our 1200-plus parks and gardens are well maintained,” he says.

“Public safety is always our number one priority, so as soon as conditions allow, we’ll have crews working to cut back grass and vegetation that could pose a fire risk, both in the OARC and in parks and reserves bordering residential areas.”

More information on the upcoming maintenance days.

Sign up for our newsletter with the latest information and updates.