Last weekend we got in the first of (hopefully) many rounds of tree plantings. The ground was soaked after a full two days of rain, the clay soft and pliable, perfect for slipping in the planned 250 trees in several exposed areas of the property where rubbish extraction has opened the now-cleared banks up to more erosion. A team of weather-trusting family and friends came along for the adventure, some planting trees for the first time, others professional tree planters.
It seems difficult to believe now, but our land was once pink gum woodland, with red gums dominating the riparian zone. Full restoration to this kind of diverse and abundant ecosystem seems a pretty tall order, but we’ll do our best, planting a variety of upper-, mid-, and lower-storey plants in our designated reveg areas probably every year for the foreseeable future.
We planted around 125 seedlings we raised ourselves from seed collected nearby – Acacia pycnantha (golden wattle), Allocasuarina verticillata (drooping sheoak), Melaleuca lanceolata (dryland tea tree), Rhagodia candolleana (seaberry saltbush), Eucalyptus fasciculosa (pink gum), and Eucalyptus viminalis (rough-bark manna gum). We supplemented this with Yankalilla-provenance tubestock from the Trees for Life surplus sale – Leptospernum continentale (prickly tea tree), Acacia paradoxa (kangaroo thorn), Xanthorrhoea semiplana (yakka), Eucalyptus leucoxylon (SA blue gum), and Eucalyptus camaldulensis (red gum).
We figured that with a good 50 kangaroos often spotted on the block, kangaroo-proofing the reveg work was a priority. We tried a bit of everything recommended to us, using sturdy corflute tree guards with stakes; nipping the growing tips off the gums to stop the roos pulling out the entire tree (a local suggestion); planting Acacia paradoxa close to other plants to nurse them as kangaroos don’t like the spikes.
I found the day quite a powerful experience. There’s something amazing about planting trees on your own land, projecting yourself forward to when the tree may be mature enough to provide shelter and majesty. Thinking of all the life that might flit through each bush and roll around underneath in the leaf matter. It was the kind of day where rain-bearing clouds kept skirting around occasionally loosening their drops, with rainbows bursting out over one hill while the sun shines on storm clouds. I like not knowing what the weather will bring, but trusting and being rewarded.
With trees now taking root in some of the neglected corners of the property, the tree day was also an opportunity to premiere a trial, home-made Camembert. With a soft, white mould outer and a creamy, golden centre, with this Camembert we’re on our way to putting the ‘cheese’ in Trees, Bees and Cheese!
A week later, things are better than expected. The kangaroos have certainly meticulously nibbled the tops off many of the gums, as well as the tops off some of the Acacia paradoxa. The roos had pulled perhaps five trees out, but most were all still moist from a wet week, and the prickly tea-trees had even started leafing out, happy in their swampy locations.
Thanks to Jeff, Shane, Richard, Emmie, Michael, Angela, Robert, Rohan, Shani, Peter, Freya, Arlo, Nat, Jess and Oliver for a job well done.