Impatient as we are, we’ve become slightly obsessive about “before-and-after” photos in an effort to stay inspired about the possibilities for landscape transformation. About 15 minutes down the road from Yarnauwi, our friends David and Gillian have been gradually revegetating a former grazing property in the hills above Cape Jervis. Perhaps because of its steepness, the property has retained a good number of big old pink gums, together with the occasional ancient sheoak, offering the beginnings of a canopy for regeneration. Seven years ago we helped out with one of their first planting weekends, and I recently unearthed some photos taken at that time. With David, we recently walked around the property to admire the last seven years of growth.
David and Gillian have been philosophical about kangaroo grazing, with plants getting no more protection than korflute guards. Some plants have been repeatedly mowed down, reaching no higher than the tree guard after seven years, while others have finally stretched above mouth height and are now heading skywards. David notes that no plants were about adult should height for the first five years – something we can relate to at Yarnauwi.
Through Trees for Life they’ve planted mostly local provenance plants in the revegetation areas, with Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata), Rock wattle (Acacia rupicola), Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Kangaroo thorn (Acacia paradoxa) and Sticky hop-bush (Dodonaea viscosa) proving particularly successful. In our experience, Acacia paradoxa and A. rupicola and Dodonaea viscosa tend to be reasonably resistant to kangaroo grazing. We were intrigued to see a couple of instances of Allocasuarina verticillata and Acacia pycnantha planted together as nurse or companion plants. The relatively short-lived, nitrogen-fixing Acacia might be just the thing to supercharge the Allocasuarina’s growth. Planting with an inpenetrable Acacia paradoxa might provide roo protection too!