A Little Planting Advice

Just a few basic tips on site selection, planting and protection. If you have any more specific question please don't hesitate to email or phone me.

Site Conditions

Site conditions which influence seedling survival include soil types; water regimes; climatic conditions such as wind, rainfall, and temperature. Severe coastal conditions and poorer soil types will present the most challenges for seedling establishment and only the hardiest species to these conditions should be used. In these situations an ongoing plan of tree planting will eventually provide shelter for more tender species once hardier plants are established. The topography of the site will dictate the optimum position for plantations so as to achieve maximum shelter benefits. Shelterbelts planted along a ridge-top will provide the most widely felt benefit, however these more exposed conditions may inhibit or slow seedling establishment, at least initially.

Soil Conditions

Is the site prone to waterlogging or drying? Is there any compaction that will impede root growth? Sometimes what looks like a sandy,well-drained soil from the surface can actually have a sub-soil drainage problem below the surface. Take note if water sits on the soils surface after heavy rain events. Individual species are adapted to different soil conditions, so be sure to match appropriate species to sites prone to temporary, regular or permanently wet conditions. Likewise, arid conditions or areas which experience seasonal droughts will require species which tolerate these conditions. Where there is a hard pan of impervious soil or sub-soil deep ripping may be beneficial for root growth of seedlings following planting. Deep ripping needs to undertaken a few months prior to planting to allow the soil to settle sufficiently to provide optimum planting conditions. Deep ripping needs to be timed to a time when sub-soils are dry in order to shatter the soil rather than creating a glazed slit in the soil. Specific advice should be sought regarding your specific local conditions and climate for best results.

Seedling Protection

Livestock - If your planting is in a farming situation you will need to exclude livestock from the planting area. Where you are planting to provide short term shelter for livestock during severe conditions an establishment period for young seedlings will need to be observed to grow the plants to a size where they can tolerate short term livestock browsing pressure. Vermin & native wildlife- Rabbits and hares are the main culprits responsible for damage to seedlings. Tree guards will help protect young plants from damage by rabbits and hares, however if populations of these animals is severe there may be some damage to the foliage which emerges from the tops of the guards. Try to use guards that are at least 900mm high,if possible. If you have Kangaroos and Wallabies then a deterrent or physical barrier, such as a tall treeguard or wire enclosures, are options to consider when these animals cause problems. If you consider fencing to exclude native animals they should be designed to provide an adequate barrier. A deterrent option that has shown some promise in some areas is to plant tree or shrub species which are prickly and / or unattractive to kangaroos or wallabies adjacent to the plants which are attractive to the animals. This can be done in a dense perimeter planting around the "desirable" species or double planted beside the desirable plants. Other animals which can cause temporary problems are magpies, cockatoos & corellas which can pull seedlings out of the ground shortly after planting. As with kangaroos and wallabies these birds are protected species and deterrents and scare devices can be employed. Grass and Weeds- Competition for soil moisture and nutrients is the major cause of seedling death and reduced vigour will occur where weeds are allowed to grow and smother newly planted seedlings. Grass/weed control can use a variety of approaches including chemical (i.e Roundup), non-chemical (mulches), mechanical (ploughing & fallowing), and physical removal. These methods all require different levels of effort and risk. Each situation will necessitate a different approach. There will also be grass/weed species which need creativity to come up with a solution. In short check that your selected method will achieve the desired result.