LEARNING TO COUNT SEEDLINGS

My goal this year was to:

  • Check and do some replanting if necessary on last year’s plots on Adnamira and Carkella.  My guess was 50 to 80 because I knew some of them had had a hard time with the dry weather.
  • plant 30 trees/shrubs in tiny triangles on Adnamira
  • 30 trees/shrubs in a small connection plot in the Tank Paddock behind the homestead
  • 60 trees/shrubs in a rocky knoll connection plot in the dam paddock on Esdale
  • 500 trees/shrubs in a windbreak on Esdale (funded by Local Land Services)
  • TOTAL – 670 approxsection-1-looking-toward-cockatoo-area

What actually happened:

  • 150  trees/shrubs replaced on Adnamira, Carkella and Esdale – an unsatisfactorily high number of losses, due to the dryness and frost at planting,  and a long dry autumn followed by boggy wetness and clay soil in unexpected places.  It was however great that we were able to fill in some gaps in old plantations that had no shrubs while we waited and waited for the new fences to be constructed.   There are still some gaps at Carkella that we’ll fill next year.
  • 30 trees/shrubs  in the tiny triangle project and
  • 30 in the Dam paddock.
  • no Rocky knoll planting.  That will need at least 100, and will wait for next year.
  • 645 trees/shrubs in the Esdale windbreak, which still needs 100 more in next year’s planting, which will make a total of 745 for the whole area.
  • TOTAL FOR THE YEAR:  855 trees and shrubs

hole-digging-crew-disappearing-into-the-distance-like-gophersNo wonder I had to run back to Damian DeMarco  and Greening Australia for extra seedlings, having already exhausted Murrumbateman Landcare’s supply.  Justin Borevitz and his lab provided us with more than expected of the eucalyptus melliodora also, so that was wonderful.

bucket-esdale-windbreakBecause our planting system is fairly labour-intensive, involving mulch mats, mycorrhizae and then lots of extra mulch, I need to plan carefully for how many we’re going to do.  “Plant fewer, plant them better” was Matt Kilby from Global Land Repair‘s advice.

On the other hand, this year’s weather has turned out to be ideal for planting, so it was great that we got more in than expected.  Last year’s weather turned out to be challenging, but I guess we can’t expect perfect conditions every time.

One thing I was particularly happy about was that we were able to get a good supply of prickly shrubs – bursaria and Acacia genistifolia in particular, as well as getting some  Daviesias (bitter peas).

This year we didn’t do any advance spraying of roundup to kill the grass before planting, mainly because it rained every time I thought about it.  After last year’s experience with grass having regrown between spraying and planting, I didn’t want to do it too far ahead.  I’m working on the theory that the mulch mats and extra mulch will suppress the grasses, plus we hacked away as much as we could with the mattocks when planting.  We can potentially come back in the summer and spray very carefully around the covers if there is too much growth around our plantings.

Next year  at least there’ll be no waiting for fence construction, because they are going up this year (some of them already up as the funding from NSW Local Land Services has arrived).  Currently I’m planning on:

  • 100 for the Rocky Knoll
  • 100 to finish the Esdale windbreak
  • 50 to fill the gaps at Carkella
  • 600 for the Adnamira windbreak – we’re hoping to be able to use rip lines instead of hand digging holes for these ones.
  • 50 for replacements in the old pine windbreak
  • 30 for the second group of Little Triangles
  • TOTAL:  930

Now we just have to finish mulching this year’s trees, then move on to native grass planting, erosion control and other fun projects.  And order enough tubestock plants for next year.tubestock-damian-dimarco

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