It was good to have such an excellent turn out for our first Central West Lachlan Landcare meeting for the year on Wednesday evening in Forbes.
We were looking ahead to things that we are hoping to undertake over the next six months, including a social planting day at Gum Swamp in Forbes, another Motley Crew event at PAC Park in Parkes, assisting with Forbes Food Revolution Day on 19 May and National Tree Day events in Parkes and Forbes and Eco Day at the end of July. These events are in addition to training and courses that we will have available to members and, of course, our Green Army Teams will be working away until November as well. Our next meeting will be held in Parkes on Wednesday, 15 March.
This week I am focusing on preparation for tree planting season, which, depending on the year is usually promising from autumn through to early spring.
Site preparation is one of the keys to success. If the area has been cleared of native vegetation, it is recommended that you spot spray or clear the surface where you want to plant for 50 – 60cm around the area to be planted.
If the site has natural vegetation, it is best to avoid extra impact on the soil. We have planted in sites that have been ripped and sites that have had no work. The key is to know your soil, know how well it retains water, look at its aspect, will you be able to do follow up watering if the season is not wet?
Obviously, the season that we had last year is not going to be a yearly event so starting early in the season when you know there is a likelihood of some good follow up rain is recommended.
Have a look at what is already growing in your area. If you can plant local species that is always recommended. If you can source local seed, even better.
Linking corridors is not only a practical way to give crop or livestock protection and increase bird life, but looks aesthetically pleasing. Go and have a sticky beak at what others are doing and ask questions!
If you have stock that are likely to be anywhere near the plantings, fence the area. No-one wants to waste time planting healthy tubestock or direct seeding just to have stock destroy your hard work.
Find a good, reliable supplier and order ahead so that they can get the best deal for your stock. Think about how you will transport the stock as well. How many trays or tubestock can you fit in the back of your vehicle?
Once you have the site prepared and the soil is looking fab, with plenty of moisture, you can either dig your hole or use a Hamilton tree planter (there are also other planting options depending on your soil quality). Using the Hamilton tree planter still requires work and again, use of the planter and its effectiveness depends on the soil that you are planting in. Have a look online for more tips. I will put some recommended links on our blog.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch! Whether you use newspaper, processed garden litter or hay, the mulch keeps the weeds at bay and retains moisture that is going to get your plant through the first hot summer. You will be surprised how resilient natives are if they are planted correctly. Follow up mulching may be required in the next season.
For further information, follow the links on our website at centralwestlachlanlandcare.org or on facebook. Until next week, happy Landcaring!