TREAT Newsletter Dry Season July - September 2016

Coming Events 2016

DateTimeEventLocation
Friday September 97:30pmAGM Yungaburra Community Hall
Sunday September 111.30 pmWorking Field Day Peterson Creek bridge, Peeramon Road

Inside this issue

TREAT Annual General Meeting

Ripping the Price Down

Can You Have Your Cake and eat it too?

Other News

Field Days

Nursery News

Fruit Collection Diary

This newsletter is kindly sponsored by Biotropica Australia Pty Ltd.

www.biotropica.com.au»


TREAT Annual General Meeting

The 34th AGM will be held on Friday 9th September at the Yungaburra Community Hall commencing at 7.30 pm. Annual reports by the President, Treasurer and Nursery Manager will be followed by the election of TREAT office bearers for the next year. Members are reminded that they must be financial when voting for the new committee. Subscriptions will be accepted at the AGM. Following the AGM we have a guest talk and the evening concludes with a supper. Plate contributions are appreciated. Everyone is welcome to attend.

This year our guest speakers will be Peter Pavlov ('Piggy') and Sigrid Heise-Pavlov ('Siggy'), presenting 'Rescuing 416'. Lot 416 at Upper Barron was owned by a local family for a couple of generations. Logging was done selectively but at a low intensity until about four years ago. The property was put on the market two years ago and Piggy and Siggy were lucky enough to purchase it as they had sold their property at the Upper Cooper Creek catchment after they managed to get a full covenant on the property.

Access to lot 416 was terrible - the water had cut grooves in the first hill deep enough to lose a post hole shovel and the logging tracks and logging sites were an ugly sight. They had 'local experts' come and give them some advice and this talk is how the repair work has progressed with the courtesy of TREAT and the advice they took. Now the property is (as at June) in the final stages of becoming a Nature Refuge, awaiting the Minister's signature. Then the 'Iggies Nature Refuge' will be protected permanently and all trees and wildlife there will be safe from any human interference.

Working Field Day - Peterson Creek

This event on Sunday 11th September will be part of 'Bushcare's Major Day Out' activities across the country, and gives TREAT an opportunity to show people the Peterson Creek Wildlife Corridor.

The plantings on De Tournouer's property in 2006 were damaged by Cyclone Larry and TREAT did an infill planting afterwards. This site is now 10 years old but still had a lot of grass in the understorey, particularly at the fence edges. Now the grass has been sprayed, and at this field day TREAT would like to infill partly along the creek edge and through the planting, and direct seed some species such as Black Bean, Quandong and Candlenut to help increase the density and diversity of the planting.

Meet at the Peterson Creek bridge on Peeramon Road at 1.30pm and we will walk upstream of this year's planting to the 2006 site. Please bring tools to help dig holes for plants in small tubes, as well as your usual gloves, trowel and water etc. Afterwards TREAT will provide an afternoon tea.


Ripping the Price Down

Geoff Onus
NQ Land Management Services

When undertaking revegetation in the Wet Tropics, the effort required is substantial and we in the industry struggle to change the decision makers' doubt of the public long term benefit of repairing landscapes and the associated costs. Education continues. The competitiveness for public monies from all sectors leaves the revegetation industry in the Wet Tropics to compete on an open national market. The current federal government's '20 Million Trees Program' endeavours to plant 20 million trees for 50 million dollars i.e. $2.50 a tree or $7,500 per hectare (based on 3,000 seedlings per hectare). At present, if you purchase seedlings in the Wet Tropics to revegetate one hectare it costs approximately $10,500 for super tubes and $6,500 for forestry tubes.

The corporate/philanthropic/donor sector are also looking for value for money when undertaking revegetation in the Wet Tropics. When the Cairns Port Authority in 2006 sponsored Barron Catchment Care for $750,000 over three years to revegetate the Barron River catchment (the Green Corridor Project), it was under the premise to bring the per hectare cost to revegetate down from the Wet Tropics standard price per hectare at the time of $30,000 - $50,000. The brief for the Green Corridor Project was to do it for $2 per tree ($6,000 per hectare) until canopy closure. To achieve this bold endeavour we had to be innovative and employ other cost cutting measures. In the last ten years we have planted around 150,000 seedlings in the Wet Tropics endeavouring to keep the price down. There are other rehabilitation measures we employ such as vegetation manipulation which is very cost effective, but this article is only focussing on intensive revegetation by planting seedlings to achieve canopy cover. The following article is based on works from 2006 till 2016 and will briefly outline general approaches to keep revegetation costs down before looking in detail at the practice of ripping.

Each revegetation project and rollout is different. Factors include: aspect, rainfall zone, slope, soil type, drainage, proximity to remnants (easier and less expensive to revegetate when close to existing forests), El Nino or La Nina conditions, landholder willingness and support, maintenance regimes, seedling stock health (including hardened level), contingency provision, project management and most importantly the budget.

Each site needs to be tailored using the above factors. Maintenance of revegetation plantings is the largest cost in the Wet Tropics. Dealing with grasses such as guinea grass or vines such as glycine can increase the effort required. Grass is very detrimental to planted seedlings and plots will fail (i.e. not achieve canopy cover in three years) if grass is not managed. The next highest cost of revegetation is the price of seedling stock. Also, because the standard approach to revegetation is labour intensive, wages can account for 60% of the cost of the site.

In general we have found that injecting more up-front costs will lead to less cost later on in the life of a revegetation project. These increased costs include buying advanced healthy seedlings. If the site has easy access and management roads, a thick layer of mulch (300mm) lessens maintenance costs by 75% in the first two years of the project's life (in a lot of cases two years sees canopy closure, especially on the coast).

Tenure is very important when undertaking revegetation in the Wet Tropics. For example, if you are repairing landscapes on public lands the land manager may be able to draw upon resources to keep the cost down. Resources may include a yearly quota of free seedlings. On private tenure, particularly agricultural lands, landholders have practical inputs including machinery, irrigation equipment and experienced labour. Other inputs from private tenure managers we have utilised to keep the cost down, were free mulch and fencing.

Reducing the density of seedlings per hectare is a measure we've employed to reduce per hectare costs. For example on the tablelands we reduced the per hectare density from approximately 3,200 to 2,500. On the coast and lower altitude sites we reduced per hectare seedling densities from 3,200 to 2,000. In using this approach we increased our pioneer ratio up to 40% per hectare depending on the zone. On average on the coast we used higher pioneer density rates than on the tablelands. Using this approach we are able to save approximately $3,500 per hectare in coastal and lower altitude plantings and $2,500 per hectare on the tablelands.

Drawing on long term voluntary and support arrangements also assists in bringing the cost per hectare down. TREAT's thirty odd year model is a perfect example of how volunteers, non-government organisations, conservation groups and the Queensland state government assist in bringing the monetary cost per hectare down (mind you there are still real costs, e.g. wages of state government staff, but it does not come from a project's budget). Other examples include Tree Force and the local council arrangement in Cairns, Envirocare's strong commitment to the Kuranda district, and C4 and the Cassowary Coast Council's support arrangement in the Mission Beach area. In general we have found that working with these groups not only assists them to achieve their conservation goals, it helps to get more country connected or healed than is possible if the job was a purely commercial project.

Spending more money at the beginning of a project includes buying healthy seedling stock (not pot bound, hardened, preferably in super tubes) and putting tons of mulch on a site if possible. We found that spending extra up front saves monetary outlays later on but also where possible we mechanised during site preparation to bring the cost per hectare down. For example, on some sites we have engaged the farmer to boom spray the site (saves about $500 per hectare), slash the site (makes work easier and therefore quicker, saves labour costs) and plough/rotary hoe/rip the site before planting (can save up to $2,500 per hectare). Some of the best sites were rotary hoed or ripped, and seedlings have grown to 5 metres in the first year. Revegetation is a form of farming and we farm for nature for the long term whereas agriculture grows cash crops (hence the difficulty to convince decision makers to invest in revegetation as it doesn't make short term monetary profit). We look at ourselves as 'farmers for nature' and do mechanise if possible, particularly in preparing planting beds by ripping for planting.

We only mechanise when we can. Some sites are steep or in gullies and then we use conventional preparation methods including blanket spraying and using one-man augers. If a site is suitable we will mechanise (a banana farmer on the Cassowary Coast has invented a successful planting machine to lessen the labour output when revegetating). When we mechanise we engage experienced farmers who know the planting bed must be prepared to a standard to get seedlings to take off. Sometimes when we rip we will do up to three runs to get the soil friable. We also have found the site must be slashed before ripping. Apart from endeavouring to keep the cost per hectare down by mechanising and using the above-mentioned approaches, we have found one-man augers are problematic and burn out rate is high. Last planting season we had staff going to hospital for heat stress when augering. We have had staff in the past damage their wrists and backs and can no longer use a one-man auger (WH&S risks are high). If we mention to the on-ground team we have to auger 5,000 holes this week they whinge, but if we mention the site has been ripped and we only have to auger a few holes, morale rises.

As mentioned above it is very important to ensure when you are ripping that the planting bed must benefit seedling growth. I have heard of instances where a ripping bed was poorly prepared, trees have suffered and even fallen over in high wind/ wet conditions. Of the 100,000 seedlings we have planted in rip lines to date not one has fallen over. Another important factor for success is to have a good level of soil moisture; it is not advisable to rip in dry soils (same as farming). The positives and negatives we have found with ripping include:

Positives

Negatives

We have had many successful planting plots over the last ten years where we have used ripping and one of our more recent sites is near Tully. We planted around 10,000 seedlings at this site in March 2014 and 50% of the seedlings were up to 5 metres in twelve months. We achieved canopy closure in eighteen months. The site was a sea of 3 metre high thick guinea grass before we started, where you could not walk one step into the site. First we engaged our preferred machine operators, a couple of farmers from the tablelands. They slashed the site using a conventional tractor and a long-arm-reach nine ton excavator with a slasher attachment for difficult-to-reach areas. Because the site was uneven and definitely not flat they used the long-arm-reach excavator to rip the lines. We waited a couple of weeks, sprayed the guinea grass regrowth and then planted. It cost approximately $1,500 per hectare to slash and rip and four staff planted 10,000 seedlings in five days. Another key reason this site was successful is that four scheduled maintenance runs were budgeted in the first year.

Conclusion

Revegetation in the Wet Tropics is expensive and bringing the cost per hectare down should not compromise the end result. Our operation over the last ten years has endeavoured to bring the cost of revegetation down without compromising the desired result. We now can deliver on average $30,000 per hectare with a range from $15,000 to $40,000 per hectare.

Tully site before planting The crew planting the site The same photo point in April 2016

Tully site before planting, The crew planting the site, The same photo point in April 2016


Can You Have Your Cake (TREAT) and Eat it Too?

Harvesting and Using the Wood from Some of our Tree Plantings

Kevin Harding

Why do you plant trees on your property?

This is a simple question with many varied and sometimes complex responses.

Have you really thought through why you are planting trees and planned your plantings?

TREAT founding members Geoff Tracey and Joan Wright thought long and hard about these issues when TREAT was founded, as was eloquently summarised in the April 2016 TREAT newsletter:

'Both shared a passion for north Queensland and its unique natural environment, but both also saw the legacy of the past - eroding landscapes, dwindling forest cover and wildlife in decline.'

After 30 years and many tens of thousands of trees planted by TREAT and by many of its members individually, do we still need to be planting trees on the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands? It would be nice to think not BUT as a newcomer of only 4 years I see some great successes but also a very important continuing need to plant trees back into the landscape.

The need for trees on farms

Others are more experienced than me to discuss the wildlife issues. I'd like to focus on tackling a few myths about the place of trees on farms and in the landscape and their impact on farming businesses.

After the very dry spring and early summer of 2014/15 we were greeted by the Malanda flood and deluge that delivered 200 to 400+ mm of rain in one night on 7/8 February 2015. Not an unusual event in the Wet Tropics but the perfect recipe for landslips and severe erosion - and didn't it deliver! There were 10 landslips along my stretch of Topaz Road and some major ones in the cleared paddocks visible from the road. The common factor - no trees in those cleared paddocks to hold the soil on steep slopes. Many of our traditional farmers have been brought up on the conventional 'wisdom' that trees and pastures don't mix - you can't have trees and grass. What you really don't want is large areas of your top soil slipping downhill and clogging water courses and sending huge amounts of sediment off your property and down to the coast.

I am currently the National President of Australian Forest Growers, an organisation that represents around 400 small private forest growers and managers in all states and territories of Australia. Our sister organisation, the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association, has 1,800 members. Our equivalent organisations in Finland, where they have a cultural traditional of small private forest plots, have 155,000 members!

The common thread I've seen in travels to all states and territories in Australia and New Zealand is that 15-20% tree cover on a farm does not decrease its productivity, but delivers very significant economic and environmental benefits. Everywhere I go I find the same percentages quoted as successfully delivering environmental and wildlife benefits while improving economic returns to the farming enterprise.

Two case studies of farm recovery and restoration

I will highlight two very good Australian examples: The Hill at Kentucky near Uralla in NSW and Rowan Reid's Agroforestry enterprise, Bambra Agroforestry Farm, in the Otways area of Victoria.

Bambra Agroforestry Farm

Rowan Reid is a forester who has planted more than 50 commercial tree species over 25% of his farm since 1987. They include trees for timber, nuts, seed, foliage, fodder and food. The 42 ha farm was a very run down sheep enterprise and Rowan continued to run 400 carpet wool wethers for the first 10 years of his 'stewardship' and now agists 200 breeding ewes. Look for details on the www.agroforestry.com.au website where it says 'Rowan has . . become a leader in the development of agroforestry education and extension in Australia having developed the first undergraduate and post graduate subjects in agroforestry and the Eureka Award winning Australian Master TreeGrower Program. In 2007 he extended the MTG program to include the training for Peer Group Mentors, a concept first introduced by the Otway Agroforestry Network of which he is a founding member.'

Plot of Californian redwoods planted about 1992, high pruned and 40-45 cm diameter in 2008

Plot of Californian redwoods planted about 1992, high pruned and 40-45 cm diameter in 2008.

Rowan planted his farm as an outdoor classroom teaching resource to promote agroforestry principles for others to observe and then adapt to their situation in many far flung places in Australia and internationally. There are details and pictures of the 8 'classrooms' on the website. He has turned an over-cleared and over-grazed farm into a productive farm enterprise with strategic plantings protecting riparian zones around his watercourses, bringing erosion and water-logging issues under control and providing greatly improved pasture production and shelter for the sheep. Wildlife and birds have returned and now live in harmony with sheep and a range of native and exotic tree species plantings. Look for the details of Rowan's plantings and think about how you could adapt the principles of what he has achieved in southern Victoria to the north Queensland tablelands. Whole of farm planning is key so think about planting the right trees in the right places to address the issues you have, plus provide the products you may want to harvest from your forest plantings at some time in the future. Think about the longevity of your trees - some are generally short lived (e.g. many acacias and rainforest early colonisers). Do you want to replace these as they die out or use them to create wildlife habitat? Will they damage long lived trees as they fall or create dangers for your children/ grandchildren? There are complexities to consider in planting design if you want to selectively use some of the trees from your plantings.

The Hill (Taylor family)

Jon and Vicki Taylor planted over 400,000 trees on their 1,200 ha sheep and cattle properties between 1979 and 2000. They were awarded the Australian Tree Farmer of the Year biennial National Award in 2000 in recognition of their outstanding contribution to farm forestry. In 2000 they had 80 ha of tree plantings with 50 ha of that being managed for high value timber production and that represented 20% tree cover for The Hill property. Their son Michael took over the running of the properties in 2008 and continues today on this property that the family has farmed since 1840! Most of the trees planted have been radiata pine as it grows well in that area and produces products in demand in the local market. The property has been extensively studied by the University of New England in partnership with Land and Water Australia and the local Landcare group. In 1992 their local Harnham Landcare Group organised the first Treefest festival at The Hill. It attracted 6,000 people to look at the latest tree planting technology and continued as a biennial event. One of their shelter belt plantings was established in the outline of a giant tree frog - a challenge there for TREAT to plant out a Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo?

Google 'Land, Water and Wool Northern Tablelands Project Fact Sheet 9' which discusses ten big issues faced by this farm, with an analysis of the impacts of the trees on pasture grasses, grazing, groundcover, woody vegetation cover, biodiversity and riparian zones. The economic analysis undertaken by the project demonstrated the importance of shade and shelter and revegetation for livestock survival and improved farm profits. It concluded 'The native timber and planted woody vegetation which is so important for livestock production is also valuable for native fauna. These fauna provide ecosystem services on farm such as natural pest control by birds and microbats.' Would the conclusion be any different up here on the north Queensland tablelands? I don't think so!

The Hill, Kentucky showing grazed paddocks, strategically planted timber trees, remnant paddock eucalypts and riparian zone planting

The Hill, Kentucky showing grazed paddocks, strategically planted timber trees, remnant paddock eucalypts and riparian zone planting.

The Taylors are proud of the benefits their tree planting has had for wildlife with the return of koalas to their property after being hunted out in the 1860s and increased frequency of echidna sightings. A decade in to their tree planting they concluded that having 11% of their two properties 'out of production' for a decade had little if any impact on wool production. During droughts in 1994 and 2002 Jon was able to graze tree planted paddocks that contained good feed as they had been excluded from stock access while the trees got established. Overall, they reflected about a decade ago that their tree planting and conservation plan and program for their properties has paid for itself 2 or 3 times since they began. Jon is quoted as saying “We believe our properties are capable of the same level of production as they were before we started tree planting. In other words, at the very least, the extra grazing production resulting from the shade, shelter, biodiversity and cleaner water, compensates for the land taken out of production with trees.”

Through their revegetation efforts, the Taylor family has broadened their commercial options with timber harvest and processing into farm fencing and other sawn timber products AND reduced their risk of exposure to extreme climatic events, native tree dieback issues that plague the New England area and market volatility in prices. Their management of their properties is a great example of 'how thoughtful, inquiring, sensitive, practical management of the farm environment can improve the triple bottom line . .. the farm environment is steadily improving and biodiversity has increased under their management - all of which is moving them towards social economic and environmental sustainability.' Google 'Jon and Vicki Taylor Case Study, Land Water and Wool Project' for a comprehensive report on their outstanding work and successes.

Conclusion

The next time someone tells you that trees and pasture and stock production don't mix, tell 'em they're dreamin'! It is being done and it has been independently studied, analysed and documented. I'm sure some of you will already know of great examples where these practices have been adopted, adapted and are working in tropical north Queensland! For example, Peter Stanton's property at Old Boongie and the Russell-Smith's at Topaz.


Other News

Tuck Plantings

Peter Tuck

We bought our 6 acre property on Mather Road in September 1993. It is one of only a few properties in the area which has the dual benefit of frontage to Peterson Creek and also to the Curtain Fig National Park.

The property had a very small remnant of Mabi type vegetation along the creek but this strip had been severely degraded over the years by cattle and weeds such as Lantana and Japanese Sunflower. About one acre of the property could be considered 'natural' vegetation and the balance of 5 acres was open paddock, initially used for maize then later tomato production.

In December 1993 we approached TREAT and planted our first trees. We were concerned that the trees were not all Mabi type species but were told by the late Geoff Tracey that 'they would sort themselves out over time'. How right his advice was, and these trees are now well established giants on the Mather Road frontage of the property.

Over the years, work and other commitments limited our plantings to a few hundred trees a year, sourced generally from the QPWS/ TREAT nursery. During early 2008 we were fortunate enough to obtain a NHT grant, with the help of a successful submission by Biotropica. During two weekends in April we were overwhelmed by the support of TREAT and friends and managed to plant about 5,000 trees, sourced mainly from the friendly folks at Tablelands Revegetation nursery. We followed this up with a further 500 or so trees in 2009/10 and these completed the planting of about 7,500 trees over 17 years.

Today our small property is a haven for wildlife. A tree kangaroo has recently been seen in our 1993 Quandong planting about 30 m from our dwelling, and numerous 'new' bird species are making our place their home.

My family are grateful for the long standing support of TREAT and others - friends and acquaintances that have assisted us in our tree planting journey. We hope that the local and broader environment benefits from our small efforts over the years.

Tree roo in 1993 Quandong 30 metres from dwelling

Tree Kangaroo in 1993 Quandong 30 metres from dwelling.

Ringtail Crossing Corridor at Work

Angela McCaffrey

Back in 2003, when Mark and I bought our land on Kenny Road we found an old dried cassowary scat. Our neighbour Roy confirmed that he had seen a cassowary the previous year on his place.

We excitedly waited for a sighting of this elusive beautiful creature but didn't hold our breath.

Fast forward 13 years; the property is now a Nature Refuge called Ringtail Crossing and over 32,000 trees have been planted to create a corridor from the Hypipamee outlier (of which we are a part) to the Herberton Range World Heritage Area. Many have helped over the years and in February we held our last community planting. The corridor is complete except for growing the trees to a size where they can be used by the animals and blend in with the forest surrounding them.

Imagine our delight and surprise when at the end of April we found a fresh cassowary scat not far from the shed, in trees planted only in 2015. I advised Roy to keep a look out and sure enough, at the end of June he emailed to say a large, highly coloured cassowary was in his garden. We are yet to see it but that doesn't matter. Just knowing that it is around and has wandered on to an area which used to be degraded paddock and is now looking good enough to check out, is such a thrill.

Thanks to all TREAT members who have helped get us to this wonderful point in time.

Freeman Forest Nature Refuge

Beth Smyth

In September 2010 Ian Freeman had the opportunity to purchase the land connecting Peterson Creek to the National Park at Lake Eacham.

For about 18 years TREAT and QPWS in cooperation with farmers along the creek, had been planting rainforest trees (grown at the QPWS Lake Eacham nursery) to form a wildlife corridor connecting the NP at Lake Eacham to the Curtain Fig NP. Ian's land was the final link in the corridor to enable native animals to travel between these two isolated rainforest patches and thus encourage genetic diversity.

During the wet seasons on Saturday mornings, community plantings are held and these are followed by a BBQ. Thorough preparations are made prior to volunteers putting the trees in the ground. To date about 26,000 trees have been planted on Ian's place and it is looking wonderful. He was very enthusiastic and dedicated to maintaining the trees by clearing grasses and weeds away from the young plantings. Once canopy closure occurred, he could relax and just enjoy his forest. The animals did too!

Ian died in May this year but before that he had bequeathed the property to South Endeavour Trust. He was very impressed with this Trust who have been purchasing other northern properties for conservation purposes. He also wanted a Nature Refuge status placed over the forest and this will happen once the title change is finalised.

However, the good news is that Ian's wonderful legacy is going to continue to be looked after and enjoyed by the many people involved in creating it, the birds and animals and even passing motorists.


Field days

Barb Lanskey

TREAT held two very interesting field days in June and July. The first was at Tarzali on a hilly property bordering Ithaca River, and the second was closer to Malanda on flatter dairying country. The weather was wet prior to the events, but fined up on both days. Only 15 people turned up at Tarzali, but about 25 people turned up for the visit to Russell Road.

Tarzali

Andrew Lilley has been managing this property for the last 5 years. After it was bought in 2004, some of it was cleared and planted with bush tucker trees and timber trees, but much of the remainder was still weed-infested. Andrew has been concentrating on gradually clearing and replanting these areas either with grass for desired open areas or trees for habitat and erosion control. On the day we saw a tree-kangaroo in a Coral Tree across the river and food trees are being planted especially for them.

Coral trees and bramble have taken over the river. Andrew forms big heaps of rubbish from Camphor Laurel and Cherry Guava trees he also cuts down, to make a very hot fire to burn and kill the Coral tree rubbish. He's found any piece of Coral tree left on the ground will take root. He tried spraying Cherry Guava to kill it but found poisoning the cut stumps works best. If sprayed, the small trees look dead for a while, but then they reshoot from the base. The Guava eradication is a slow and laborious job as the small trees form dense thickets. Andrew has cleared to the river bank at a section towards the end of our walk. Across the river we could see the impenetrable bramble on the other side, similar to what he's cleared - amazing!

We walked through the bush tucker plantings at the beginning. The Davidson's Plum trees are now high enough to have Diploglottis trees planted in between, and some rows are native Finger Limes. In other areas are Atherton Nut and Lemon Aspen trees. Plums and nuts fall to the ground to be collected, but Lemon Aspen fruit has to be picked from the tree. The trees need pruning to have the fruit within easy reach and Andrew has experimented and found they can survive quite savage pruning.

The timber plots towards the end of the walk are eucalypts and kauri pines. In an area of better soil the kauris are doing quite well. The property has a less weedy regrowth area up the hill from the last section of river, but we didn't go there, returning instead to the house for afternoon tea.

At the entrance to the property, Andrew planted a windbreak and screen of rainforest trees and these have done really well, now needing minimal maintenance.

Tarzali bush tucker trees Russell Rd spring-fed dam

Tarzali bush tucker trees, Russell Rd spring-fed dam

Russell Rd

Having cleared the main weeds from their 12 acres of former dairying land after they bought it, Eleanor and Paul set about planting trees. They started with a belt of trees along the road edge as a screen and windbreak, plus a triangle of trees at the far end of a deep gully running through the property. With typical enthusiasm of new tree planters, they underestimated the maintenance necessary for the large number of trees. Their road-edge planting was 6 rows wide, 200m long and used up all their 95 round bales of mulch. The triangle planting was also quite large and the young trees there suffered from grass competition and frosts over 2 years. The screen planting is looking good. It shelters a horse paddock from the wind and road and Eleanor trims the trees to encourage them to thicken out.

The triangle planting however, needs a lot of infilling. They now use rolls of weed matting to help with weed control and cut holes in the matting to plant infills. Some of the original trees have grown quite large and are helping to shelter other trees, so with more infills it will eventually become the forest they intended.

Their current method of revegetation is to lay down weed matting, cut it to plant each tree, then cover the matting with mulch. Planting is done in summer, hoping for storm or wet season rain, but sunny days can leave the young seedlings exposed to heat stress from the black matting and this is why they put mulch on the matting. We walked through a planting only two years old which has given the best results. Here they have planted the trees more closely, less than one metre apart, and mulched the matting. The matting is supposed to last 3-5 years depending on exposure to sunlight and may last longer under mulch or leaf litter. It lets water through easily but weed seedlings coming up in the mulch on top seem to spread their roots through the mulch rather than through the matting.

At the other end of the property some larger trees planted by the former owner were growing around a spring-fed dam. This dam initially couldn't be seen it was so overgrown with lantana and other weeds, but Eleanor and Paul have now made it a most attractive area with tree ferns and rainforest plantings. After passing through the forest area here we walked back to the house alongside the road-edge planting and lingered with chat over afternoon tea.


Nursery News

Nick Stevens

Continued warm and wet conditions over the past couple of months have been conducive to successful tree establishment following the very high temperatures experienced in the early part of the year. Regular rain and showers have removed the immediate need to irrigate at Massey Creek and strong tree growth is evident where we would expect to see diminished tree and weed growth during this normally cooler period. Likewise, seedling growth in the nursery has continued at a faster than normal rate for this time of year with most species showing little sign of slowing down, and there have been fewer than average outbreaks of rhyzoctonia and other fungal and disease issues.

A memorial planting in remembrance of Joan and James Wright was held at the nursery on May 27 and a plaque will be placed in the garden in the near future. Ngadjon Jii Elders Margie Raymont and Yvonne Canendo attended and welcomed all to Country and wonderful stories of Joan and James were told by Alan Gillanders and Fran Herriot.

It has been a time of great sadness, as we learned of the passing of long time TREAT members Ian Freeman and Jill Crawford and newer member Rick Speare who was tragically killed in an accident, and former ranger and Dulguburra Yidinji Elder Doug Stewart - all passing within two months. Our thoughts go out to their families, loved ones and many friends.

Some staff changes have occurred in the last couple of weeks with Simon heading back to the Lake Eacham Management Unit to resume his ranger role there. We welcome Caleb Zaicz who has now commenced at the nursery as part of the rotating ranger team (along with Darren and Simon) working between the nursery and the lake management teams. Prior to joining the nursery Caleb has worked with John Clarkson for several months and was Ranger in Charge at Coen for around 2 years prior to that.


Seed/ Fruit Collection Diary April- June 2016

SpeciesCommon NameCollection Location/
Regional Ecosystem
Acronychia acidula Lemon Aspen 7.8.2
Aglaia sapindina Boodyarra 7.8.3
Archidendron lucyi Scarlet Bean 7.3.10
Brachychiton acerifolius Flame Tree 7.8.3
Caldcluvia australiensis Rose Alder 7.8.2, 7.8.4
Elaeocarpus bancroftii Kuranda Quandong 7.8.4
Emmenosperma alphitonioides Yellow Rosewood 7.8.2
Endiandra montana Brown Walnut 7.3.10
Eupomatia laurina Copper Laurel 7.8.2
Ficus variegata Variegated Fig 7.3.10
Helicia nortoniana Norton's Silky Oak 7.8.2
Levieria acuminata Straw Beech 7.8.2
Melicope broadbentiana False Euodia 7.8.4
Melicope elleryana Pink Euodia 7.3.10
Pandanus monticola Screw Palm 7.3.10
Phaleria clerodendron Scented Daphne 7.8.3
Pitaviaster haplophyllus Yellow Aspen 7.8.2
Polyalthia michaelii Canary Beech 7.8.1
Rhus taitensis Sumac 7.3.10
Syzygium australe Creek Cherry 7.8.3
Timonius singularis False Fig 7.8.2

Species and Common names are taken from 'Australian Tropical Rainforest Plants' online key.

http://keys.trin.org.au:8080/key-server/data/0e0f0504-0103-430d-8004-060d07080d04/media/Html/index.html

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