Trees need to be ordered well in advance (preferably 6 months) to ensure supply of good quality seedlings at the right age. Plant a mix of local indigenous species. The local nursery will be able to assist you with selection for your farm,
Where soils are heavy or have shallow surface soil over clay, ripping down to about 40-60 cm when the soil is dry is essential to improve root penetration & development, aeration, infiltration of rain and allow for good tree growth.
Poor weed control accounts for most tree planting failures. Weeds can reduce growth rates by up to 70% compared to weed free sites and can decrease survival from an expected 90% of trees to 10%.
Carry out weed control before planting. Aim to keep an area 0.6 m - 1 m radius around a tree clear for the first year. A 1 m radius for 2 years gives maximum benefits.
A weed control mix should ideally contain a contact herbicide to kill existing pasture and weeds and a residual herbicide to stop new plants from germinating. When using a residual mix, care must be taken not to mix the soil when planting otherwise the tree may be killed. Discard the top part of the core.
Areas, which risk waterlogging or frost in winter should be planted in spring - sometimes as late as November.
Areas which dry out early in summer, such as north and west facing slopes, should be planted as soon as possible after the autumn break.
Soak the seedlings in their pots the day before planting.
Most farm trees will not require fertiliser when planted into farm land.
Where pests (e.g. hares/rabbits) are a problem and tree numbers are not too great, individual tree guards are an option.
It is important to only stake the guards and not the trees. Trees grown with the aid of stakes have a reduced chance of staying upright when stake removed. If you find a tree constantly falls over unless staked it is best to find another species for that area.
Metal mesh guards should only be used in sheltered areas as the wind can damage the tree against them. Plastic tubes or other guards, which fully exclude the wind, have a similar affect to stakes in that they don’t encourage a strong, supportive root system.
Electric fences can be placed 1.2 m closer to the base of the tree than conventional fencing as cattle will not butt their heads through.
Trees and shrubs must be protected from stock for at least the first three years.
If weed control, planting and guarding are done properly there should be little maintenance required in the first few years.
This work, Victorian Resources Online, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. You are free to re-use the work under that licence, on the condition that you credit the State of Victoria (Agriculture Victoria) as author, indicate if changes were made and comply with the other licence terms.
The licence does not apply to ‘branding’ or some ‘images or photographs’ that may be owned by third parties. We ask you to seek prior approval to use images using the VRO feedback form. Access to higher quality images can also be provided on request.