The first horticultural trial site for our research was established near Hanmer Springs (North Canterbury) in 2020. We worked with a private landowner to plant one hundred trees in a 10m x 10m array, and we've been monitoring their growth since then.
We are investigating how coppicing techniques will affect stem regrowth and whether the regrowth outcomes can be controlled through pruning treatments. To do this, the young saplings will be instrumented and monitored. Advanced tree sensing devices, such as sap flow monitors, tree stem pressure and temperature monitors, will be installed for measuring sap composition and flow, transpiration, and other factors.
In addition, we have established a weather station and environmental monitoring devices at this site. We are measuring air and soil temperature, solar radiation, precipitation, soil moisture, windspeed, and atmospheric vapour pressure deficit. This data will allow us to optimise site requirements for each horticultural crop.
A birch plantation is planned for Little River, and we are exploring other potential sites for test plantation to support our research.