SA Water has branched out in its efforts to restore biodiversity by successfully propagating and planting more than 40 of the notoriously difficult to grow Native Cherry tree.
A conifer-like plant that resembles a Christmas tree when fully grown, their foliage provides habitat for local wildlife like birds, echidnas, possums, butterflies, moths and other invertebrates.
SA Water’s Vegetation Services Specialist Shaun Kennedy encouraged those looking to plant something to mark National Tree Day, to think of selecting a lesser used species to help foster ecosystem diversity.
“Native Cherry is a critical local species, however their seed biology remains a mystery and they’re incredibly difficult to grow, but we persevered because it’s important to restore functional and diverse landscapes, and it’s a principle we can all follow in nature renewal programs,” said Shaun.
“Working with experts from Blackwood Seeds, we developed a specialised method for striking cutting material and nurtured them for two years in State Flora’s Murray Bridge nursery before planting the young trees at the Clarendon Weir and Millbrook Reservoir reserves during 2013-14 and 2017-19 respectively.
“Other beautiful species like Guinea-Flower, Lavender Grevillea and Purple Flag, join the Native Cherry as flora often overlooked in planting programs and by pushing the boundaries of traditional approaches, our revegetation initiatives can better emulate natural ecosystems.”
The Native Cherry has a sweet edible fruit with the seed held in an unusual way on the outside of the fruit, which is believed to be an important nutrient supply for some birds.
SA Water has planted over 50,000 native plants and over 5 million native grasses in the past 12 months, spanning a total of 85 different species including trees, shrubs, sedges and wildflowers.
“Our revegetation efforts are constantly evolving and have matured to focus on plants not commonly restored in their natural ecosystem and are part of our ongoing commitment to sustainably managing catchments for the highest quality water inflows to reservoirs.”
National Tree Day has grown since 1996 to be Australia’s largest community tree-planting and nature care event, and is a call to action for Australians to get their hands dirty.
“It’s always exciting to see thousands out in force for National Tree Day, dedicating their efforts to enhancing the environmental health of our planet, and hopefully some will consider giving overlooked species a helping hand.”
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