NUFG Farm Forestry Tour April 2007

The tour departed Epsom DPI on Thursday 26th April to look at and assess group members plantations and nursery. Sixteen participants enjoyed an informative and interesting day travelling some 140km through Inglewood and Raywood. The first site visited was Ken & Louise Wellard’s nursery in Eaglehawk. People were amazed at the rapid expansion, work and automation Ken & Louise had undertaken at the site. With the drought hopefully behind us the Wellard’s business should be able to thrive and we strongly recommend their nursery (Neangar) to all members looking at future plantings. The quality of their stock was outstanding.  

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al Brown’s plantation at Leichardt was our next stopover. Having visited the site previously we were amazed at the strong growth rates achieved during the dry times. Pruning had been undertaken and some thinning early on the site. Wind or butt sweep was a concern and Mal questioned whether the site or guards had emphasised this. Other members also had similar issues and no conclusions were drawn although the site was particularly open to wind being on a westerly slope. Mal had several pruning tools on display and spoke on the value of a better quality tool. The cheaper versions had failed consistently.

Next port of call was Tim & Rebecca Johns’ at Brenanah. On the way we enjoyed a morning tea break at the Blue Eucy café, Inglewood before heading out to their property. Tim’s plantation was designed on a wide spacing with four plants clumped together. He spoke about using the design by selecting the best plants and culling the others. In some instances he had used four different varieties within a clump. They had also used a number of different guards. Rabbits and other wildlife had taken a toll on some trees and had shown a particular liking to the she-oaks. Tim indicated that two tyres had been required to successfully protect some trees. The plantation is only young so no pruning or culling has taken place. The different spacings and planting regime make this site of ongoing interest to the group. We look forward to re-visiting the site and discussing how and why Tim & Rebecca will manage the site and the trees in the future.  

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Lunch was had at Blanche Barkly winery, Kingower where all members partook of the local cuisine. Mal screened the Kamarooka project DVD for the group and many members were noted to comment on the quality of the DVD, food and wine.

James & Lynda Cartwright’s trees at Raywood have been a great example of an earlier site planted by members. The earlier trees reflect the high rainfall species and have been irrigated. They are quite tall and have done very well. James indicated that the species were recommended by other people at the time. Later plantings reflect a change in thinking and are based on local species. This site is a great example of some the group’s earlier plantings and would be a great reference from which to draw knowledge in terms of species and management.  

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Andrew & Penny Wall have two large sites and have planted some ten thousand trees. The species reflect the current thinking with local hard­woods and wattles. Andrew is currently undertaking pruning and the plantings are a significant influence on the landscape. This will be a great reference for future visits. Andrew also indicated a spring planting far outperformed an autumn planting in growth rates.  

Andy & Carmel Hay’s was the final call and this plantation is referred to as the Kamarooka project. It is the showpiece of the group and many field days and much research has been done at the site. The plantings have done exceptionally well given the site, and people were staggered at the growth. The site does truly reflect the value of trees and Andy’s comments are reassuring that we have undertaken a worthwhile project.

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