CAMPASPE Shire Council’s Rural Tree Scheme has flourished again this year with requests for more than 14,000 seedlings.
Funds allocated to the scheme for the 2017-18 financial year are now fully expended and the scheme will reopen in July 2018.
Mayor Adrian Weston said the scheme provides an opportunity for rural land owners to purchase plants at a subsidised rate, encouraging them to plant native species to improve landscape aesthetics and the environment.
“This year has been a great success, with council receiving 110 landholder participants in the Rural Tree Scheme — the most since its inception in 2002,” Cr Weston said.
The initiative aims to put more native plants back onto properties and in turn help the environment. Trees, shrubs and ground covers provide habitat for wildlife, create wind breaks, offer shade and privacy, visually improve the landscape and are low maintenance.
“With a 25 per cent increase in seedling requests, it has certainly been a well received scheme available to our rural community,” Cr Weston said.
“The environmental benefits to the scheme are a driving force, providing landholders with greater shade opportunities, as well as increased bird and animal life, adding to healthy ecosystems,” Cr Weston said.
All Campaspe Shire rural zoned ratepayers were eligible to purchase plants at a subsidised rate through the Rural Tree Scheme, with the number of plants available limited to property size.
Ordered plants were available for collection in either spring 2017 or autumn 2018, allowing landowners time to prepare the planting site to ensure high survival rates.
“Landholders are to be congratulated on their successful planting, with site visits to participating properties through council’s monitoring program, showing a survival rate above 75 per cent after two years of planting,” Cr Weston said.
“In the last five years, more than 45,000 species have been planted through the scheme and with the requests from this year, the total will exceed 59,000 – a fantastic result.’’