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Autumn Newsletter 01.04.16

Despite warnings of El Nino and summer drought we have had sufficient rain this summer for last year’s plantings and our nursery plants to really thrive. We have had a busy summer with repotting many cuttings and plants grown from seed collected during 2015. The work done by both Joan germinating collected seeds, and Leslie with many trays of cuttings, has been brilliant and added greatly to our nursery stock at little cost.

Weed maintenance and spraying on our many projects areas has also kept us busy over the summer.


Tuesday mornings 8.30am on is our regular volunteer working time and last week we had 26 very keen volunteers who faced a variety of tasks. It is a weekly challenge to organize this keen labour force as this task list shows. Weeding, potting on, bagging mulch, chain sawing tree surrounds at the oak arboretum, spraying gorse at Meadow Walk, raking wild flowers to spread seeds, weeding around oaks, obtaining WOF for the truck were all tasks which took place this week. There is always lots of laughter and good social times are had at morning tea and it is a pleasure to be part of the trust in its 26th year. Spread the word and come along and join us.

Others may wish just to be members and support our work. Our website has membership details.

NURSERY WORK this summer has concentrated on preparing plants for the winter planting programme. There has been spraying, seeding, cutting propagation, weeding and potting on and we now have a very full nursery that is an impressive example of what volunteers can do. An estimated 15,000 plants are currently growing apace. The nursery looks a picture and keeping on top of weeds in potted plants has been an issue and regular weekly weeding has been a challenge as have battling the paper wasps which have had a boom summer among our metre-high plants. Members have been regularly stung into rapid movement.



There has been much discussion this summer on key planting projects for this winter and our plant needs for each project assessed and the ground prepared by spraying and mulching. By allocating chiefs to different project areas we are developing an efficient team to ensure all tasks

are covered. I must compliment the work of Jan Todd and Jane Moodie who have taken on the leadership challenge for the Maple Arboretum, Meadow Walk and Blackie’s Bank. They are certainly making things happen. Roger is OC bluebells and wildflowers and he quietly but effectively looks after these areas.


Jan and Eric Todd have taken over this area, surveyed its current state and reassessed needs. This winter it is planned to continue with maintenance and to undertake infill planting. The park is being well used and is attracting much favourable comment. However it has high maintenance needs and throughout summer our members have been spraying regularly to control weed growth. Much work will have to be done here this winter.


David Phillipps continues to fine tune and add new material to our website. It is a great record of our work over the last 26 years. A huge thank you to David for the many, many hours of work he has been done. Please visit the new website at It is brilliant.


Over the summer Jan and Eric have been beavering away on Blackie’s Bank weeding and spraying. It is now looking quite well covered but playful young people are creating problems of surface erosion and plants are suffering. There are plans afoot to control these issues.

The planting done above the carpark last winter has taken off and controlling weed regrowth has proved a challenge. In the main, last winter’s planting, done with assistance from public, schools and Correction Department teams is now making an excellent show. Once autumn rains start further planting will take place here as WDC has been removing weeds and rubbish and spraying the area. Already on April 3 a four-hour session of weeding and planting there has been booked for a group of senior students from St Peters School as part of their community work towards International Baccalaureate.


Our work here is now in its fifth year and Jan and John Moodie have taken leadership of this project and are directing operations. Their work here planning, weeding and spraying through the summer has been monumental and each stage from 1 to 3 has been a success story. The whole walk is looking superb and is attracting growing use and favourable comment. MW4 is a challenge but Florida Landscaping are undertaking $2000 of work clearing and spraying on the steep slopes and already trees to go there this winter have been set out in our nursery.


Under the leadership of the Moodie and Todd families Stage 1 of this project has been completed and is looking superb. With financial support from the Cambridge Community Board over forty maples have been planted staked named and mulched and it is a tree-lovers dream. Stage 2 which involves a further planting of over forty maples is in hand. The ground has been sprayed and shortly mulch will be spread. The maples have been ordered and will arrive in July bare rooted and will require immediate planting. Located on the Brian “Blackie” Reserve it will prove a very smart addition to our planting here.


Throughout the summer much work has been done on this 22 year old Tree Trust project. All the tree surrounds have been removed, which was a huge labour-intensive task and there were loud cheers last week when the last surround was cut down. The work of Corrections Department teams with this project has been greatly appreciated. A little more mulching and weeding has to be done here yet but there is no urgency.


Our new project challenge this winter will be the planting of the area where bamboo used to dominate on the upper side of the Soldiers Track. WDC staff have sprayed this area and we have a $1000 grant to purchase trees and shrubs for birds. We will need much assistance in planting this area so please touch base and assist us. 2016 is shaping up to be an outstanding year for the Cambridge Tree Trust which is appropriate in our 26st year. Please get involved in some of the many projects that will be ongoing this year. Come along to the nursery at 89 Thornton Road at 9am on any Tuesday morning.

Don Willoughby


Cambridge Tree Trust

April 2016

  • Bank account for donations: Kiwibank, 38-9005-0635102-01

The 4-minute video below shows what we can do with your donations. Click the "play" arrow, then the "full screen" box at the bottom right of the  picture and the video will play in high definition.