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Locally suited plants project

Whether you are planting paddock tress, windbreaks or just establishing a few natives in the garden, plants grown from seed of local provenance provide the best chance for success.

The reason for this is that local plants are more suited to the local environment. They would have evolved over time to cope with environmental variables such as rainfall patterns, frosts, winter and summer extremes, soil types and landscape position.

Watershed Landcare’s ‘Local Plants for the Local Environment’ project provided our community with locally grown, native tubestock as well as building their knowledge and skills to grow their own by selecting for viable seed, ensuring successful germination and giving seedlings the best start.

The project, funded by Michael King and Landcare Australia, aimed to highlight the importance of plant selection for re-vegetation projects, focusing on the benefits of utilising locally sourced, endemic seed for propagation. Namely, local native plants:

  • are likely to be better adapted to the local environment, including the soil and climatic conditions,
  • are more likely to readily establish and regenerate than those from alternate sources and require less care,
  • provide habitat for beneficial local native fauna, while keeping the unique character of the local landscape,
  • not only look like they belong, but help to maintain the health of the local environment.

Watershed Landcare volunteers identified suitable seed collection sites, conducted seed collection excursions and processed, propagated and grew 1100 plants. Eucalyptus, casuarina and hardenbergia species were grown from locally collected seed and additional acacia, angophora, brachychiton, callistemon, eucalyptus, grevillea, hakea and lomandra seed was obtained from other sources.

The mature tubestock was made available to Watershed Landcare members conducting on-ground re-vegetation projects as well as the wider community at the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.

A seed collection and propagation workshop was also run as part of the project, providing participans with hands-on experience of basic identification features of some commonly found local plant species; the tools and techniques required to select viable seed; timing, methods, storing collected material; equipment and processing of collected material; methods and materials for propagation and the best time to sow seed.

Seed Collection: Participants learning how to collect and propagate native seed at the Local Plants for the Local Environment workshop.

The emphasis of the workshop was to introduce people to a few tricks to ensuring a good germination, and doing so at low or no cost in terms of equipment. Participants also gained an insight into local plant ecology and had access to seed and material propagated on the day.

Ever wanted to grow your own native plants? Our volunteers are busy growing the next batch of tubestock, contact us to find out how you can get involved: info@watershedlandcare.com.au.

How do you pick a good seed?

 Did you know you can grow your own native plants without expensive, specialist equipment? But to ensure success it’s important to start with healthy, viable seed. So how do you pick a good seed from a dud?

To get the best quality seed, start with a healthy, natural population of parent plants. Collect seed locally if possible, environmental conditions should be considered, but collecting seed from a large and genetically diverse population is much more important. Avoid neighbouring plants as they are most probably related and instead collect seed from widely spaced healthy plants. Isolated plants should also be avoided as they may not be able to cross-pollinate so are likely to carry inbred, unhealthy seed.

Want to find out more? Come along to our seed collection and propagation workshop on Sunday 6 May and gain knowledge and skills to select for viable seed, ensure successful germination and give your seedlings the best start.

Seed Success: Start with healthy, viable seed.

The workshop will be run by local ecologist, David Allworth, and local botanist, Christine McRae, and will cover basic identification features of some commonly found local plant species; why collecting locally is best; safety, permission, timing, methods, storing collected material; equipment and processing of collected material; methods and materials for propagation and the best time to sow seed.

The hands-on workshop will take participants through the tools and techniques required to select viable seed and provide plenty of actual experience in seed sieving, preparing potting mix, sowing seed and handling seedlings. The emphasis of the workshop will be introducing people to a few tricks to ensuring a good germination, and doing so at low or no cost in terms of equipment; generally most the things required to germinate plants can be found in the domestic garbage bin or in the shed.

Participants will also gain an insight into local plant ecology and have access to seed and material propagated on the day.

The seed collection and propagation workshop will be held from 9am to 12 noon on Sunday 6 May at the Straw Bale Shed, AREC. The workshop is free to attend with morning tea and lunch provided.

All welcome but RSVP is essential for catering purposes. For more information or to book your spot please contact Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or info@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Michael King and Landcare Australia.

Growing your own natives

Ever wanted to grow your own native plants? Do you know how to tell a healthy, viable seed from an unhealthy one, when is the best time to sow, and how to give your newly emerged seedlings the best conditions to ensure success?

Watershed Landcare will be hosting a seed collection and propagation workshop on Sunday 6 May and have invited local ecologist, David Allworth, and local botanist, Christine McRae, to share their extensive knowledge on the subject.

“Collecting your own seed and growing the plants yourself for either re-vegetation projects, farm windbreaks and shade trees, or the home garden can be extremely satisfying. The ultimate DIY project that will outlast a lifetime.” said Ms McRae.

“The purchase of seed to grow native plants is relatively low cost. However, collecting your own seed from close proximity to where it will be used can add to the survival rate of the plants.” she continued.

The reason for this is that local plants are more suited to the local environment. They would have evolved over time to cope with environmental variables such as rainfall patterns, frosts, winter and summer extremes, soil types and landscape position. Provenance is a term meant to describe the origin of a seed source. Local provenance equates to genetic adaptation to local environmental conditions.

“Another good reason to collect your own seeds is that there are many native plant species out there and commercial suppliers will not be able to supply everything when required, if at all. Growing your own local native species is the best way to aid their survival.” said Ms McRae.

The workshop will cover basic identification features of some commonly found local plant species; why collecting locally is best; safety, permission, timing, methods, storing collected material; equipment and processing of collected material; methods and materials for propagation and the best time to sow seed.

Workshop participants with gain knowledge and skills to select for viable seed, ensure successful germination and give seedlings the best start.

The seed collection and propagation workshop will be held from 9am to 12 noon on Sunday 6 May at the Straw Bale Shed, AREC. The workshop is free to attend with morning tea and lunch provided.

All welcome. For more information or to book your spot please contact Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or info@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Michael King and Landcare Australia.

Pro Event Calendar

Local Plants for the Local Environment – Native Seed Collection and Propagation Workshop

Watershed Landcare will be hosting a seed collection and propagation workshop on Sunday 6 May and have invited local ecologist, David Allworth, and local botanist, Christine McRae, to share their extensive knowledge on the subject.

The workshop will cover the following topics:

Identification

Basic identification features of some commonly found local plant species

Useful texts to help with identification

Seed Collection

Why collecting locally is best – (also only collect from large healthy populations)

Safety

Permission

Timing – weather, ripeness of seed

Method/s

Containers for collected material

Record keeping

Processing Seed

Equipment for processing collected material

Processing collected material

Storage for seed – labelling, insect attack

Propagation

Propagating mix

Containers

Best time to sow seed

Watering

Protection of your seedlings

Workshop participants with gain knowledge and skills to select for viable seed, ensure successful germination and give seedlings the best start.

The seed collection and propagation workshop will be held from 9am to 12 noon on Sunday 6 May at the Straw Bale Shed, AREC. The workshop is free to attend with morning tea and lunch provided.

All welcome. For more information or to book your spot please contact Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or info@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Michael King and Landcare Australia.