Time to plant your trees

Time to plant your trees


Life & Style
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Winter is the season for planting trees, both in garden and paddocks writes Fiona Ogilvie.

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An east facing windbreak of mixed wattles and eucalypts that was planted two years ago is looking beaut. In the foreground E. caesar is flowering now.

An east facing windbreak of mixed wattles and eucalypts that was planted two years ago is looking beaut. In the foreground E. caesar is flowering now.

Winter is the season for planting trees, both in garden and paddocks. In the garden I don’t prepare much in advance, though I try to mark potential sites earlier in the year and keep them weeded and dug.

Paddock planting requires more thorough planning.

Apart from anything else the investment in time and money for say 100 trees is obviously far bigger.

Bill’s preparation begins from nine to 12 months in advance and reminds me of the old adage that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

Bill’s preparation begins from nine to 12 months in advance and reminds me of the old adage that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

We may (do) argue about a lot (pruning springs to mind) but when it comes to planting trees he gets it right and the results of his efforts over many years are there for all to see.

Fences are essential for farm trees, to protect them from stock and roos.

To minimise this and save strainer posts we plant trees either in a fenced off paddock corner or within a fenced in line down an existing fence.

Having decided on a site, Bill sprays with weedkiller and deep rips up to a year in advance. (He uses glyphosate but organic gardeners might prefer Slasher from Organic Crop Protectants.)

This gives the ground time to fallow.

I was amazed when planting trees recently how far down the moisture had penetrated into the subsoil considering how little rain we’ve had (about 250mm. in the year since last June).

Fallowing is well worth doing. The fence goes in next, and at least one more dose of weedkiller before planting, so the tree roots can establish themselves free of competition.

Planting along a fence line is easier than a corner group as there’s no need to measure and mark the ground, you simply plant one tree per iron fence peg.

Bill digs to loosen the soil, finishing with a small slot into which I drop the tree. I tread it in and add 5ml. water crystals and a small handful of organic life fertiliser.

We then put in a tree guard to protect from hares.

Having recycled plastic tree guards for years, I’m happy to say totally biodegradable guards are now available from Green Grow (www.weedgunnel.com.au)

Staking tree guards is easy if you push two bamboo stakes into the ground, drop the tree guard over them and stretch it out with the third stake.

You can then collect everything and move to the next iron peg.

None of this is as time-consuming as it sounds provided you’re well prepared.

Two people working in co-ordination can comfortably plant around 20 tube stock trees in an hour and enjoy watching them grow for years to come.

We recently planted a windbreak of Manna Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) and Hairy Wattles (Acacia vestita), 20 of each before and after morning tea.

I like planting wattles among eucalypts as being legumes they fix nitrogen in the soil.

They also attract sugar gliders who help control insect pests including Christmas Beetles.

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