Ten brave souls came out to make merry in the winter solstice weather. They scattered across the landscape like sheep (which are happily excluded by the new fence). That’s because the plantings are widely spaced to mimic the type of rich grassy woodland we are trying to regenerate.
In weather not as bleak as last week, but close enough, we took to the top of the ridge in our box-gum woodland to plant a couple of hundred more trees.
Jacqui Stol from CSIRO (and Murrumbateman Landcare) talked about how climate change is likely to affect quite small microclimates within a larger area – so that plants that might be happy now on a north-facing slope, will need shelter on a south-facing slope in future. It’s hard to plant for such changes.
It was great to hear about some of the other issues that plantations have experienced in the area. There is a depth of knowledge about all this that I’ve hardly begun to tap into.
I felt rather ashamed of my scattergun efforts, where I collect as big a range of appropriate local plants as I can, then jumble them up and plant alternate trees and shrubs in groups. That means some of them won’t thrive as well as they should, for example some callistemons got into my trays of plants for the top of the ridge and they prefer near the creek. I like to think, though, that it mimics some of the randomness of natural sowing.
Jacqui did warn me that the cassinias I’ve planted can become a weed in some areas. That’s all we need. More weeds.
Jacqui’s also going to have a chat with NSW Local Land Services about the sort of specifications they put in their box-gum woodland proposals, to remind them that a box gum woodland usually only has about 25 trees per hectare, not hundreds. She herself has a woodland with nearly 2000 trees per hectare and is getting ready to thin them out, rather than try to thicken them up.
Anyway, we planted at the density I thought was right. It’s a big enough job just to get them all in, fertilized, mulched, watered and ready for the hot summer coming.
As darkness began to fall, it was hard to find all the wonderful volunteers to take them home.