19 na­tive trees for coastal shel­ter Don’t plant these

Whether they’re na­tive or ex­otic, these trees can pro­tect your fruit and nut crops by with­stand­ing just about ev­ery­thing na­ture can throw at them. The ul­ti­mate best coastal shel­ter is pro­vided by New Zealand na­tive plants which have adapted to the salt wi

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In The Home Orchard - BEN GAIA (self-sown by the birds and re­sists graz­ing) (which is Pam­pas grass used to be a good fall­back in sear­ing salt but it’s a big no-no be­cause it is such a ter­ri­ble weed, and very hard to chain­saw off or dig out. Privet ( is another ram­pant weed

The South Is­land’s West Coast gets a lot of rain - up to 6m an­nu­ally - but it also gets sear­ing dry winds most af­ter­noons, and es­pe­cially in the warmer months of Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. With­out plants that re­sist the dry­ing ef­fect of these winds, it would be im­pos­si­ble to grow an or­chard.

Sur­pris­ingly it isn’t the huge rain­fall that lim­its what we can grow here: it’s the dry­ing af­ter­noon sea breeze. Most of my orig­i­nal or­chard sur­vives thanks to one sin­gle huge spread­ing Por­tuguese lau­rel tree ( Prunus lau­ro­cera­sus). Its waxy broad leaves re­sist salt spray, and its fast growth can out­pace the dry­ing of leaves in the harsh wind.

It has long been a pop­u­lar shel­ter tree in the UK where they’re grown as hedges along gar­den bound­aries, and that’s prob­a­bly what mine once was per­haps a hun­dred years ago. Now it has tipped over and grows side­ways like a very large shady bush, pro­vid­ing a lee­ward calm to the north-east, and a sleep­ing perch for the chick­ens. Tucked in be­hind it is my ap­ple and pear or­chard.

Over the years I have added to this shel­ter-belt to warm up my whole sec­tion and pro­tect the soft growth of the fruit trees.

There have been lots of tri­als and many er­rors but di­ver­sity is the key. The more dif­fer­ent species you try, the more likely it is that some of them will suc­ceed, and the gaps of the fail­ures can be plugged by plant­ing more of the sur­viv­ing va­ri­eties.

• Chatham Is­land ake ake,

Olearia traver­sii • karo, Pit­tospo­rum cras­si­folium/ Pit­tospo­rum ral­phii • karamu, Co­prosma ro­busta • Co­prosma lu­cida • mingimingi, Co­prosma propin­qua • ponga, Dick­so­nia spp • ngaio, My­opo­rum lae­tum toxic but also in­sect-re­pelling) • kanuka, Kun­zea eri­cioides • Co­prosma repens • Griselinia lit­toralis • Pseu­dopanax species, no­tably Pseu­dopanax lae­tus (broad shiny leaves) and Pseu­dopanax ar­boreus

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