University of Wollongong, Australia - ponds and other wetlands

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University of Wollongong (UOW) has successfully trialled a new method of planting wetland plants in the university pond network. Establishment of plants on pond embankments and in shallow waters has been challenging due to birds eating and pulling new plants out of the ground. Traditional methods of planting wetland plants (grow tubes) has delivered varied amounts of success. One pond had an 80% success rate whilst another had 0% success (due to high bird activity).

The UOW Landscape Team partnered Harris Environmental to grow pre-planted coir mats for use in the pond system. 140 thick coir mats (1 square metre size) were pre-planted with a mixture of native plant species and allowed to establish and grow in shallow water filled beds off site on a local farm. Once established (approximately 6 months of growing) the plants were transported to the university ponds for planting. The process of planting was quick and easy. Planted coir mats were placed in the ponds and weighted with rocks to stop movement.

Wetland plant establishment has been rapid. There have been no plant losses due to bird activity. An additional 300 planted coir mats are currently being grown for planting during winter 2016. This new planting method has been a total success.

UOW is currently researching the use of planted floating islands and other planting systems for use in ponds and wetlands.

For more information email Mark Spence (UOW Landscape Supervisor) at mspence@uow.edu.au.