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Long stem tube stock is an exciting and innovative method of planting and growing native vegetation. Plants are grown with a long stem and planted deeply into the ground. New roots sprout from the leaf nodes that are now below the surface, giving the plant a much better chance of survival with this stronger root system. This method produces a strong, healthy plant that will not need further watering after planting.
Bill Hicks, who developed this method of planting, found there was a need to find an alternative to the willows (Salix sp.) that have been used to rehabilitate our waterways. The willows have become a serious problem, as they are displacing the natural vegetation by colonising river and stream banks, causing sandbars to develop resulting in erosion. The long stem tube stock method has also been successful for rehabilitation areas other than waterways such as areas of high salinity, rainforests and sand dunes.
What is long stem tube stock?
A seedling plant is grown in a small tube and placed on a wire rack off the ground to ‘air prune’ any roots that grow through the bottom of the pot. This means that all the roots are contained in the pot. It is ready for planting when the plant has reached a height of approximately 1 metre. This usually takes 12-18 months. A good quality potting mix is used with slow release fertilizer that is added when the seedling is placed in the tube.
What are the benefits?
What areas are most suitable for long stem planting?
What type of vegetation is suitable?
Pots and racks
Forestry tubes are best, use only square cornered tubes with ridges down the inside of the tube. A larger forestry tube 6.5cm may be needed for plants with very large leaves. Place the pots on racks off the ground to allow for air pruning.
Using this method the plant does not become root bound in the tube.
Preparing pots for seedlings
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Home gardeners and bush care groups can benefit from using long stem
Bill Hicks has produced a video that is available for purchase at
Norkhil Technologies Pty. Ltd.
You can also see more information
and pictures regarding long stem planting techniques by
going to the other page on this website "Long stems
Produced by the Australian Plants
Society, Central Coast Group in conjunction with Gosford
City Council and Wyong Shire Council.