Late winter to early spring is the best time to start planting. Because of the cool weather, the plants will be largely dormant and will therefore be less likely to suffer transplant shock. It also gives the roots some time to get established before the hot weather hits.
That said, some species such as Lilly Pillys, Pittosporums, Casuarinas and Lomandras can successfully be planted from late summer right through to late spring.
Final Site Preparation
Once all the lantana and other weeds have been cleared from a site, there are just a few steps to properly prepare the site for planting.
Remove as many regrowing weeds as possible. This can be by manually pulling them out, spraying them with Roundup, or using a brush cutter.
Remove all fallen branches, stumps, rocks, twigs etc that might interfere with the plantings. The goal is to get the area as workable as possible.
Measure out where the trees and other plants will go. This step is absolutely essential as it ensures that the trees will not be overcrowded as they mature. Because seedlings are so small, it is very easy to plant them too close together! Not only that, but better spacing means more area can be revegetated with the available seedlings.
Dig a hole at least twice the diameter and 1.5 times the depth of the pot. Bigger holes are better because they result in more loose soil around the plant. This improves water absorption as well as allowing the roots to grow more easily.
Mix a handful of saturated water crystals with the soil at the bottom of the hole. The water crystals hold significant quantities of moisture for the seedling to access through dry spells.
Place one fertiliser pellet in the bottom of the hole.
Plant the seedling so that the surface of the soil in the hole is at least 10cm below the surrounding ground level. This helps with watering and water retention because it prevents the water running away. It is still very important though to ensure that the seedling’s root ball is completely covered with soil.
Water in the seedling to settle the soil and reduce transplant shock.
Almost all new plantings must be caged or the wombats, roos and deer will have a nice little snack. Over the years at Bangalee, we have experimented with various forms of fencing and cages. The most effective method appears to be to individually cage each tree with 1.5m high 25mm x 25mm square wire mesh supported by three star pickets. Larger mesh such as dog wire doesn’t stop roos putting their heads through and having a snack. Similarly, anything less than 1.5m high allows deer to lean over the top and eat off the new growth. We typically make the cage diameter no less than 1m to allow tree to spread and leave a 15cm gap between the wire and the ground to allow easy access for weeding and watering and to prevent birds from getting trapped. Star pickets should be hammered in with the holes facing outwards as this makes it easier to attach the wire mesh.
The pros and cons for each other form of caging are: (All the plants in the pictures below were planted at the same time and were roughly the same size. The extent of growth in each form or cage was consistent between species.)
Tree burnt off in green bag
Green plastic bags with bamboo stakes Pros:
Easy to set up and reuse
Are like ovens in summer
Too short to prevent most animals
Aren’t wide enough to allow tree to spread
Bamboo rots within one year
Tops of trees in plastic mesh cages eaten off
Black plastic mesh cages with hardwood stakes Pros:
Cheaper than star pickets and wire
Easy to set up and reuse
Do not cook the trees in the same way as green plastic bags
Do not allow the trees to spread
Not usually high enough to stop the tops of the trees being eaten
Hardwood stakes rot within one to two years
Can be difficult to weed inside due to lack of room
A fenced planting area
120cm wire fence surrounding planting area Pros:
Prevent people walking into regeneration area
Marks a distinct boundary
Wombats can get fenced in with disastrous results
Wombats dig under the fence or push through it
Roos and deer jump the fence
Costly to set up
Trees thriving in wire cages
Individually fencing each tree Pros:
Prevents deer and roos - they just seem to go around
Wombats don't knock the cage over
Easy to maintain - well defined maintenance area
Allows tree to move freely and therefore to strengthen