TerraCottem Advantage Synergy Library

13/02/2019 - 11:19

Discover the new Online Synergy Library, listing all stories from TC Advantage's newsletter.

TC Advantage is a package deal. It’s about supplying TerraCottem (more about that in a minute), along with all the training, technical specification and compliance needed to turn a tricky project into a genuine long-term success. So when anyone has a turf, street tree, revegetation or whatever project to tackle, bringing in the TC Advantage expertise means you get: advice on which TerraCottem product to specify; training so that it’s applied for maximum benefit; and monitoring to ensure compliance within the project’s specs.



From obsolete tank to ... this!
Matthew Barbetta, Open Space Co-ordinator for Melbourne’s City of Glen Eira takes you on a virtual tour to the new Booran Road Play Space.
Keywords: sports fields, landscape, turf, trees, understorey plantsSynergy 49


We're celebrating
Twenty-five years ago, TerraCottem didn’t exist. Dr Willem Van Cotthem at the University of Ghent was poised to discover TerraCottem’s base model: the fore-runner of a soil conditioner that’s made a success of projects around the world ever since.
Keywords: twenty-five years, Willem Van Cotthem, University of GhentSynergy 48


Big Waves = Brillint Makeover
Who would have thought that a foreshore pummelling would end up leading to something as wonderful as a new central park at Kingscliff? As it turns out, the storm events - which kick-started the process - led council and community to put something into place that is much, much better than what was there previously. And on so many levels.
Keywords: landscape architect, dunal planting, storm water solutionSynergy 47


Playing on the roof
Hanging Gardens of Babylon aside, in the past the term roof garden usually meant a few wind pruned plants in pots, a bit of modular decking and a string of party lights left over from New Year’s Eve. But in more recent decades, things have seriously ramped up, so that landscape architects are now successfully creating treed garden spaces many floors above street level. One of these designers is Ruth Czermak, and the roof gardens she often creates are for smaller people...
Keywords: roof garden, landscape architects, sustainable, landscape design, rain garden, plant choice, micro climate, maintenanceSynergy 46


Greening Singapore Even More
A few weeks’ back, three of the Australasian TerraCottem team popped over to Singapore for Green UrbanScape Asia, aka GUSA. Given Singapore’s reputation as an astonishing garden city-state, the conference and expo’s theme – intense nature in cities – made perfect sense. Tarrant Baguely and Rick and Tim Sharpe share their observations…
Keywords: Green UrbanScape Asia, expertise, dialogue, technologies, green city, open space, vertical spaces, urban greening, skyrise greenery, high-end parkSynergy 45


The more you know, the more flowers you grow
At the risk of stating the obvious, if you like what you do, then you tend to get better at it. And as the years roll along, the expertise you build up makes your work life more interesting - and the results even better. Here’s a good example, the proof in just one person’s path since the 1990s...
Keywords: horticulture, knowledge, improved plant establishment, native trees and shrubs, street tree planting, park upgrade, re-establishment, succesful landscapes, garden beds, high profile floral plantings, adopt-a-street-tree, urban heat-island effect, planting workshop, seedlings, fast growthSynergy 44

“I remember we agreed to do a trial on a road nearby, planting native trees and shrubs with a soil conditioner – some with, and a control group without. It was the first time I’d worked with TerraCottem and we all saw a definite difference, with improved plant establishment.”

- Matthew (Matt) Robertson, Parks and Open Space Coordinator Western Downs Regional Council


Soft Engineering
The ideal is alive and kicking at the City of Melville. Sitting and working side by side in its local government offices are the City’s civil engineers and landscape architects*. And while this is not new in itself, Melville’s projects are changing form thanks to the two disciplines bouncing ideas off each other. One in particular - water sensitive urban design - is a growing accepted practice across many professions, producing results using ‘soft engineering’, aka plants. Landscape architect, Zoe Williamson, explains how landscape and engineering work together at Melville, using the recent Esplanade works as an example...
Keywords: water sensitive urban design, landscape architect, manage run-off, biofilters, rain gardens, groundwater, soil microbes, native plantsSynergy 43


Treeing the Bruce
If you find yourself driving down the new section of the Bruce Highway in South East Queensland – the 17 kilometre stretch between the overpass at Traveston and the other overpass near Pomona – you’d be cruising through a seriously chunky revegetation project. We’re talking big areas, some of it planted over the sort of terrain that’s tricky to work in. But that’s not all. The number of trees that has gone in is also impressive, as is the amount of in-the-office pre-planning carried out long before the tender was actually won...
Keywords: revegetation, establish plants, forestry tube stock, speed establishment, reduce irrigation needs, biodiversitySynergy 42


Big, well-built green spaces
It’s all about space. Leaving enough of it free of homes so that there’s enough room for people to get out into it, and coincidentally build communities. At least that’s what landscape architect Matt Frawley thinks, and it’s this philosophy that sits very comfortably with the property group he works with.
Keywords: landscape architect, public open space, green space, quality landscape, oval, aid maintenance, future-proofing, sand layer, boost establishment, longer term, premium approachSynergy 41

"Unlike Rockley Oval, Duncan Fields made use of TerraCottem to boost establishment and aid maintenance in the longer term. Looking at the results from both installations, each is meeting its drainage target. But Duncan established faster and better, and it’s been easier to maintain in this climate.”

- Matt Frawley, Landscape architect


On a hill with a view
If you were a seagull sitting on the top of Perth city’s iconic Bell Tower, and you decided to fly almost due west towards the ocean, you’d end up at City Beach. And on the way, you’d have swept over the roofs of Ocean Gardens, a retirement village sitting on a sandy hill with glorious views to the sea. This story is about the gardens at the village and how they’ve been encouraged to thrive in what is a deceptively tricky location.
Keywords: tricky location, public green space, lush gardens, hot and windy, sandy soil, low in nutrients, no rainfall, limitations, greenery, flowering colour, garden design, species selection, minimal maintenance, text-book horticulture, expert hands, boost plant chances, survival Synergy 40


A cyclone and a community
This case-study is a bit of a roller coaster ride. It’s set in the Shire of Livingstone, which stretches midway along the Queensland Coast from Rockhampton in the south to Wild Duck Island to the north – 12,000 square kilometres. The team that manages the Shire’s public open spaces is necessarily large – thirty members – and it’s broken down into the six sections co-ordinated by Matthew Kerr. “I’m proud of my team: they’re all about making a difference to the community.” This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but he’s watched them in action, not only day to day, handling the ordinary, but also on those extraordinary days which followed Friday, February 20th 2015.
Keywords: public open space, damage, replanting, replace trees, existing landscape, re-greeningSynergy 39

“We planted a mix of 100, 45 and 20 litre sized trees. We planted them with TerraCottem – I’ve been using it for years ... – and we’d all been watching them come along, commenting on how good they looked. The trunks were vibrant and the new leaf growth looked like lettuce.”

- Matthew Kerr, Shire of Livingstone


No-spray Greening
Vince Cusumano, Senior Coordinator Park, Policy, Trees & Natural Areas for Blacktown in Greater Sydney, Australia explains how back in 2012 he started planting out the fenceline to check whether this would act as a deterrent. With success!
Keywords: parks, open spaces, managing graffiti, green screen, sustainable, nursery, greenery, saving moneySynergy 38


Juggling Ovals
Does anyone really enjoy delivering a tricky sports field reconstruction? Probably not, but everyone loves to hear about them. Here’s one that has all
the bells and whistles: a four metre difference in levels (that’s not a typo), the need to keep part of the playing surface available throughout construction,
and the too-common issue about there not being enough water to ensure establishment.
Keywords: ovals, sports field reconstruction, not enough water, green playing field, lack of available water, amazing root growthSynergy 37


Then and now
There’s a great story behind TerraCottem, and it’s wrapped around two people: Russell James and Tarrant Baguley. Russ knows all about the beginning because he was there. Taz came into the picture a little later on and he’s the man with an eye on the future. It’s a tale filled with international origins, a fair dose of initial disbelief, crushing periods of drought and many happy endings. Once upon a time…
Keywords: TerraCottem story, Agriturf, water-storing crystals, research, innovation, monitoring, evaluating, experts, healthy growth, soil mixSynergy 36

“A row of Callistemons went in at Sydney Airport, some with TerraCottem and some without, and the difference was stark. This was the point where I first went, wow, this could be a great product.”

- Russell James


Flower Power
If you’re in the hort industry, you know that each green space has it’s own character and quirks – and some spaces are more quirky than others. Take the green space smack at the epicentre of Victoria’s Bendigo. Drive up the Calder Highway and by the time it’s calling itself Pall Mall you can’t possibly miss the fact that this City was built in Victorian times by people who had managed to find a fair amount of gold. It’s a Victoriana-fest, including the green spaces between these gorgeous buildings. It’s these gardens that are the responsibility of the City of Greater Bendigo’s Brendan Beale and his intensive horticulture team…
Keywords: hort industry, green space, garden, carpet-bedding, pH issues, seedlings, soil conditioner, capacity to hold waterSynergy 35

“We had problems with the soil in the beds. We’d tried various composting regimes and these had left us with nutrient rich soil – overly so – but with pH issues and weeds. The seedlings were struggling.” The fix came from an unexpected angle – a dose of TerraCottem – which interestingly sorted things on several fronts.

“Our aim was to add the soil conditioner to the beds to balance the pH and the rest would hopefully work itself out over time. I didn’t expect it to be a quick fix but we noticed the results instantly. Our first planting of petunias, which we’d planted very early, lasted a full five months and looked great. And I think the beds are looking better year after year.”

- Brendan Beale, City of Greater Bendigo


20,000 Dancing Feet
If you’ve been to Adelaide, there’s a good chance you’ve spent some time beneath the trees of the Botanic Garden, or the Botanic Park which sits across from it. Whether you were enjoying the cool shade of the gums and ferns of the Australian Forest, or the dappled shade on the sweeps of lawn in the Park, there’s no doubt that it’s the trees that make these places what they are and that helping them to thrive is critical to the success of these spaces.
Achieving this is not a walk in the park – so to speak. This is South Australia, after all…
Keywords: botanic garden, trees, lawn, turf, greening program, insurance, senior tree treatment Synergy 34

“I discovered TerraCottem about eight years ago. Prior to that, when we planted any new trees, they just sat there. So when I planted some as a test, from the same stock, with the only difference being the TerraCottem and saw the difference, it was unbelievable.

I am the biggest promoter and now every tree is planted with it. In the Australian Forest stock from the Atherton Tablelands is shoved into the reality of Ad- elaide’s climate and the survival rate is up 20 to 30 per cent. The TerraCottem is my insurance given the cost of the transportation.”

- Karen Smith, Adelaide Botanic Garden curator


That's Tazz... at your service
He’s someone you don’t forget easily, thanks to the hair colour which Tarrant Baguley inherited from his red-headed mother. At 37, his own head-full is only now sporting its first grey hair, but some of you reading this will remember Tazz when he first started out in this business, as a youth about to turn 21…
Keywords: Tarrant Baguley, TC Advantage, technical support, cut back on water consumption, watching plantings grow faster, horticultureSynergy 33


What's in the mix?
Prepare yourself to hear something you probably already know; something you agree with; and something you wish you could sort once and for all. In this case landscape architect Des Cloake gets on the soap-box and does a good job of summing up the challenges and solutions.
Keywords: landscape architect, soil mix, planting design, specs, limited water, cut costs, specificationsSynergy 32

“I recommend getting a specialist soil consultant to confirm the soil mix is fit for purpose. I also make good use of TerraCottem
as a means of hedging my bets for a good result by improving the water and nutrient exchange capacity of the soil.”

- Des Cloake, landscape architect


A swamp. Some dollars. & wild cattle.
Just when you’d thought you knew all there was to know about revegetation, along comes a project with its own cowboys:
the good kind, with dogs and horses…
Keywords: natural resource management, ecology, no random planting, biodiversity, support nature, 20 Million Trees Programme, insurance, protection against drought, thriving trees, wetlandsSynergy 31

“I’ve been using TerraCottem since 2005. We’re spending so much on these trees, I see it as insurance, protection against drought.”

- Louise Duff, Conservation Volunteers Australia and WetlandCare Australia


Tim's territory
It’s almost too massive to imagine, the sales arera that Tim Sharpe covers. If you take Perth’s Swan River as a starting point, it forms Tim’s northern boundary. The Indian Ocean lies along the western edge, the Great Australian Bight the southern, while the Western Australia border closes out the east. This area may be large but at least Tim’s task is straightforward – to make sure that everyone knows TerraCottem exists, and what it’s capable of. Further down the track, he also plays a part in helping them get the results they were expecting...
Keywords: commercial landscape, land care group, government agencies, sandy soil, minimum maintenance, quick establishment, dry summers, little water retention, poor nutrient values, high evaporative rates, soil improvement, technical support, boosting a soil, reduce erosionSynergy 30


Learning landscapes
A great deal is demanded from the outdoor space that surrounds a school. Think back to your own primary and secondary years and you’ll likely remember: the spot where you sat to eat lunch; the places where you played till bell-time. Since most of us obviously develop an appreciation of the living environment during these years, it’s worth making the most of school zones through creating some thoughtful landscape design. What follows is a close look at some recent work within a Melbourne girls’ school...
Keywords: parks, playgrounds, urban design, sports, playspace, landscape design, soil compaction, tree stress, paving, artificial soil profile, amended soil, nutrient-rich and water-available root zone, establishment phase, improves growing conditions, satisfactionSynergy 29

“We use TerraCottem because we feel confident that it improves growing conditions, which is particularly important during the establishment phase, while also reducing the reliance on irrigation”

- Josh Chia, ACLA Consultants


Landscapes that feel right
When you have someone putting landscapes together, who understands that it’s not just about the pieces but the way they all come together, then you get outdoor spaces that feel special. This is the way landscape architect Jeremy (Jez) Clark and his team at Cairns Regional Council tackle their projects, and the results speak for themselves…
Keywords: landscape, outdoor spaces, landscape architecture, experiental, established trees, lush green, expertise, dry soilSynergy 28


Sewerage ponds into wildlife lakes
What could be a more dramatic make-over than a sewerage treatment plant into a bio-diversity hot-spot? In the case of the old facility at Christies Beach, south of Adelaide, it was the most obvious step to take…
Keywords: biodiversity hotspot, wetlands, local provenance plants, 95% success rate, transformationSynergy 27

“All of the plants that went into soil, were planted with TerraCottem, and I’d put the success rate conservatively at 95%.”

- Jamie Horne, Environmental Services Manager of LCS Landscapes


The quiet achiever
Some great projects are impressive, and not thanks to a chunky budget. In this success story it’s all down to a quiet achiever. His boss describes him as proactive and forward thinking, someone who can picture the results and knows how to make them happen.
He’s clearly the person you want on your team, but you can’t have him since that’s John Murray’s* privilege and (honestly) joy.
Keywords: pepped-up park, propagation nursery, mature plantings, maintenance budgetSynergy 26






Look who's using it
Delfin have a reputation for making the most of the natural resources of a residential development site – playing on its strengths, minimising disturbances and above all, creating wonderful envi- ronments for communities to enjoy. Given that they invest considerable effort to achieve this, it’s not surprising that at Woodlands as part of this process, they specify TerraCottem to enhance the success of their landscapes.
Keywords: landscape contractors, drought, minimal plant loss, water restrictions, harsh soil conditions, plant establishmentSynergy 3

“We use it when planting gardens and street trees. Under drought conditions, our trees are still doing well. And it’s true – we have minimal plant loss which we put down to TerraCottem assisting in this process. We’re very conscious of water restrictions at Woodlands, and we’re dealing with harsh soil conditions, so we know TerraCottem is helping the establishment of the plants.”

- Peter MacLoughlin, Naturform landscape contractors

Beneath the botanical gardens
Not everyone gets an opportunity like this, to play a major role in creating a botanic garden from scratch. Listening to Acting Manager, Helen Paulsen talk about the birth of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens, you have not only a sense of the scope of the project, but also her joy at its suc- cess. And yes, TerraCottem has had something to do with it. But before we let Helen tell the story, it’s worth setting the scene...
Keywords: botanical garden, difficult soil, preserving plants, safe from droughtSynergy 3

"They were literally double the size with more leaves and they looked much, much happier.”

- Helen Paulsen, Acting Manager of the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens


Doing the job with less water
There is a way to not only cope with less water when managing green assets, but to even improve on the results. Following are three people who are comfortably biased in favour of TerraCottem. They’ve specified it, paid for it, managed its application and watched the results. Let’s let them sing TerraCottem’s praises...
Keywords: less water, city trees, survival rate, better planting practices, water restrictions, reduce water consumption, healthier plants, faster growth rateSynergy 2

"I think the reason I stopped to take a closer look at TerraCottem was because the people were genuine. On top of that they were willing to come over and edu- cate the staff at no cost".

“If you’ve seen the results you’d know that this stuff is not the same as everything else. And the advantages clearly outweigh the increased cost in apply- ing it because you don’t have to get a crew back to replant new stock. I can’t speak highly enough about it – without question it’s done everything they’ve said it would do.”

- John Christie, Manager Parks, Leisure & Environment for the City of Belmont, Western Australia

“One benefit we didn’t expect from the TerraCottem was a reduction in the fail rate of those plants which, despite all our efforts to educate, were planted poorly. TerraCottem is a form of insurance against the damage.”

“I’ve botanical experts coming along to take a look because they said it couldn’t be achieved – to plant at a density of eight plants per square metre. And you can tell where we used the TerraCottem because those plants are healthier and have a faster growth rate.”

- John Erwin, Bushland Management Officer in Melbourne’s City of Knox


What is Synergy?
With this first edition of our newsletter Synergy we wanted to help you understand what is behind the name we’ve chosen.
Keywords: synergy, synergetic effect, transform the soil, planting solutions, transplanting existing treesSynergy 1


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