MORE than 30 local landholders recently attended an information session at Mark Walters’ property east of Loch to explore the different techniques available for planting trees.
Mark gave a presentation on what he has achieved through revegetation.
This includes shelter for livestock and habitat for wildlife as well reducing the sediment load from his creeks into the nearby Bass River.
Mark has planted more than 100,000 trees on his property, both commercially and for biodiversity.
An additional benefit has been to increase the value and appeal of his property.
Native plant nurserymen Frank Smolders gave a demonstration of a Pottiputki planter which consists of a hollow tube with a duckbill end that is driven into the ground and levered open to create a hole suitable for the seedling.
The seedling is then dropped down the tube into the hole and pressed into place with foot pressure.
On observing this, one attendee described it as “just like magic”.
This back saving device is favoured by commercial planting contractors to plant large numbers of trees.
A practised operator can plant between 2000 and 5000 seedlings a day using a Pottiputki.
They are suited to either forestry tubes or hikos.
Hiko seedlings are roughly half the size of standard tube stock and come in a tray of 40 seedlings rather than individual tubes.
They are a single species per tray and grown to order by native plant nurseries and generally suit larger revegetation projects.
One advantage of using hiko cells is their cheaper cost at nearly half that of standard forestry tube stock.
However timing is critical and the ground needs to be soft enough for this planter to work effectively otherwise it will bend.
The duckbill jaw on a Pottiputki planter can also be adjusted to suit different soil types.
After the demonstration attendees took a walk around Mark’s property to look at the different areas he has planted using a mixture of direct seeding, tube stock (in the early days) and now hikos.
Mark said he favours direct seeding on the flattish areas of his property with a tractor and sources his seed locally.
Quad bikes can also be used for direct seeding.
Mark said he now prefers to use hiko cells on his steeper areas, of which he has many.
Mark has planted up his gullies and creek lines and has created a number of shelterbelts using these different planting methods.
He has received assistance from both Melbourne Water and Landcare to undertake his revegetation projects.
If you would like further information, contact the South Gippsland Landcare Network on 5662 5759.