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Posted: Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:34 am
by Shirley Henderson
HI brett, I am wondering how things are going on your property. I have recently aquired a small block and it has Pittosporum undulatum growing on it. I am looking forward to encouraging that as my main stabiliser for the creek bank. No shortage of plants native and introduced. If you are interested in seed let me know. Some of them are just fruiting now. Remember the discussion on Pittosporum a fantastic plant for the creek, rainforest and Victoria.
Kind regards

Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 5:18 pm
by brettmtl
Hi Shirley,

Quick update, all the trees individually planted didn't survive.

It wasn't the sun's heat, rabbits, moisture or soil condition. It was the wind.

On certain days on this land it is the windiest place. Driving along you see little twisters every now and then. There are no wind barriers and it is this constant wind that dried out these seedlings.

I know I could put a guard around each seedling, though this is too expensive and time consuming. So the approach I am going to take is as follows.

Seed the perimeter around 20 acres up with seedballs, so that all the trees can grow together. As they grow they will shelter and provide cover for each other.

I am currently researching a seedball mill to make around 100,000 seedballs.

I have a lot of accacia seeds and am looking for others.
Please send me as many seeds as you have of pioneer types. This perimeter doesn't have to be rainforest species, it can be anything that can grow in a windblown environment.

My request goes out to not only you Shirley, but anyone who has viable seed.

Thanks in advance.

Please send me a PM and I can send you my address.


Brett :D

Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:41 pm
by duane
Some Melia on their way to you Brett.....

I will try and collect some blackbean for you as well....

Posted: Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:02 pm
by Angela Helleren
Hi Brett,

Just a thought, though I know I'm quite a few seeds short on farm /horticulture practises.... :)
Have you considered planting your trees in several clusters nearer the centre of the paddocks and working your way out toward the boundaries over time. Perhaps use some bales of hay stacked or log piles as wind barriers to get things started. The centre tile of a scrabble board that you build upon spreading out as the opportunity arises.


Posted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:32 pm
by duane

No luck with the blackbean yet...I'll send the Melias on thursday.

Posted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:27 pm
by ColinJEly
Hello Brett
It's dead simple. You just get yourself a few sheep and wait for the Government to declare your property under the Native Vegetation Management Act. Soon your property will be overrun with native vegetation and there wont be any room for a sheep to stand! ;-)

Seriously, just a thought, how about starting with 10 or 20 seedlings. Protect them from the wind, an old hessian bag on a couple of posts on the windward side. Start on the edge of your property from the side of the prevailing winds. When these get large enough you can do a few more. Hopefully the earlier plantings will protect the newer ones.

Good luck


Posted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:39 pm
by ColinJEly
Did you read in the latest 'Town and Country Farmer' Magazine, an article by Rowan Read, who runs the Master Tree Grower Program about successfully planting and pruning trees?

Posted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:33 pm
by brettmtl
Thanks Angela and Colin for your suggestions.

Sorry it has taken so long to reply, so much has been going on in my head about this land.

Three months ago I met with two Government officials from the DNRE to evaluate my land and see what help they could offer.

They were rapt and very excited to see a nest of quails and a diverse collection of wildflowers. They informed me that this land was originally Northern Plains Grassland.

Currently there is no funding for fencing or seeds or anything, though they did give me a book and some other info. They also sent me satellite images and vegetation classes.

The lady said it would be great to create a miniature rainforest of grasses and orchids, as 200 years ago this was the predominant vegetation class, though I did ask her, " what was the vegetation class before Aborigines burnt it over 1,000's of years,' there was no answer.

They even suggested, grazing the land as the grassland doesn't like mulch or burn it, as this would regenerate the grassland and awaken dormant seeds. They said without proper management the grassland will disappear. They also told me to spray or hand remove the Bathurst Burr, and didn't agree that this is a pioneer species and when fertility increases they will disappear.

This really though a spanner in the works and Peter's way of thinking. The lady then showed me some of the revegetation work she had conducted on other farms and I was very impressed with some of these trees and shrubs.

Since this experience I have really been in a bind about what to do with with my time, money and energy. I really want to grow rainforest and a massive part of me wants to buy land in the Great Divide and establish rainforest, especially in the Black Saturday Fire Zone area.

I have even advertised to sell my land to funnel my resources into the Great Divide, though I still feel a connection with my land and feel that there are so many lessons that this land can teach me.

This is what I am dealing with.

How did these grassland species evolve, when they need fire to manage them, surely man hasn't always managed them.

Northern Plains Graassland is extremely rare with 98% of it gone and my small piece of land is a refuge for many species of flora and fauna.

To preserve this grassland, you can't plant trees as then they will provide a lookout for birds of prey, to easily spot the quails.

This is why a part of me wants to sell this land, as all I want to create is multilayered rainforest that once originally covered all of Australia.
Though if I sell this land there is a good chance the buyer will heavily graze it and it will be a desert again.

Anyway this is what is going on in my head.

Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. :)

Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:59 am
by Shirley Henderson
Brett, keep in mind that areas change. Grass land one day and forest the next. This happens naturally in nature...The seeds blow/travel and survive where the climate, mico-climate and conditions are right. Quails survive in many places that are full of trees. Provide areas of safety such as logs with hollows, rocks, or whatever can create shelter for them. You can reserach that. You can put your rainforest plants in the most suitable areas and leave open spaces but all of this requires maintenace and follow up controls. (remove shrub and tree seedlings from the open areas) I think it would be very rewarding to have a haven for wildlife and still preserve you grassland, flowers orchids etc. As you said if you sell, more than likely there may be no Presevation of the species you spoke of. If you create you rainforest and save areas for your grasslands you can record and contribute to the future preservation of those species. Recreate the rainforest as you want to do. I say keep going. Australia is not as it used to be. Your block can be a wonderful rainforest if that is what you think you can achieve and the grass, orchids and flowers will be preserved in the process. Go for it!

Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:02 pm
by Julian
Keep going Brett, you have laid the foundations. Stick with Peters principles and you will get there. The others dont see the big picture.

Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:50 pm
by duane
Hi Brett

I can inform you that rainforest ran from west of Melbourne all the way to Cape York. That was 220 years ago.

99.75% of it has disappeared.

Now I am unsure where you are exactly in Victoria but there was a lot of temperate rainforest there once, as there is in Tassie.

Col may know something or even David Holmgren.

The UN Declaration of Biodiversity says that all plant communities whether they be 'old or new' have value.

They recreated a rain forest near Wellington at Lake Burrandong.....all from a dairy farm. The Burrandong Arboretum....goggle it.

I agree with Shirley....go for it.

Posted: Thu Apr 29, 2010 11:15 pm
by brettmtl
Thanks for your advice and encouragement :D

Shirley you are spot on about Australia not being what it used to be and grassland was once rainforest and you mentioned you now have a small block, congratulations, that land is blessed to have you as its owner. What are your plans for it?

Julian thanks for the reminder about the bigger picture. I got caught up in the present situation and started taking on board the DNRE's vision, which is never where the rainforest vision arose.

Duane, land in central Victoria, Terrick Terrick, which is about 30 km west of Echuca or 14km east of Pyramid Hill.
Major Thomas Mitchell was the first European to explore this area and standing on top of Pyramid Hill he stated '..the view was exceedingly beautiful over the surrounding plains, shining fresh and green in the light of a fine morning. The scene was different from anything I had ever witnessed in New South Wales or elsewhere. A land so inviting and without inhabitants! A country where canals would answer well for the better distribution of water over a fertile country enclosed as this is by copious rivers.'

Two hundred years on where are the copious rivers, the nearest creek to my land is a sand-bed. So one must wonder what created so much water. Peter explains it quite well about our rivers how they were more a chain of ponds and the water stayed on the landscape a lot longer.

One wonders what type of vegetation was present. I wish that I could find a buried manuscript of the first Aboriginal explorer, who witnessed this area before fire-stick farming and then european farming commenced.

The current flooding and blooming of Lake Eyre confirms the myths of the Aborigines that there was once a permanent inland sea. Though what caused Lake Eyre to dry out apart from the occasional flood waters that reach there. I often wonder did the burning the Aborigines do, kill the rainforest, which resulted in a more open canopy, a hotter landscape, therefore less rain and run off, which then lowered river flows and ultimately turned the inland sea into a massive salt pan.

And so I wonder what this all has to do with the current situation and what it will take to turn this country towards a wetter future.

Posted: Sat May 01, 2010 3:35 am
by Angela Helleren
Brett, I was looking up your region and came across several references to the Native White Cypress Pine and Buloke ... m?park=195 ... lands.html

Now a listing for all to get lost in -

Old newspaper articles, Photos, Paintings etc. (Bookmark the link for future ref. )

Search your area or any that you are interested in and see what comes up! :)

Lake Eyre

Posted: Thu May 06, 2010 7:52 pm
by Shirley Henderson
Brett I watched this show on Lake Eyre recently filling. It was truly amazing to watch it flourish. What was very disappointing was to see the cattle driven into the land while it was flourishing to feed on the green. Before long it was gone. I cant help wonder what would happen if it was left alone.
Anyway aside from that I believe if you keep piling/adding organic matter to sand it will become fertile eventually. The plants/mulch contain water and the life begins. It will dry out if it is not continually added though. Thats where the natural recycling comes into play especially if you can use decidous trees.
I am also learning about sandy soil now as the property we just bought is sand and I am used to clay. I find it dries out a lot quicker. It has plenty green, not like your situation and lots and lots of weeds. It has lots of birds (my personal favourite) and other wildlife. Of course I am in my element. I am recording information and making changes very slowly. I have learnt that removing many of the weeds that are so hated by nature lovers are the very life source of the wildlife (especially the birds). I am watching, learning, recording and planning my next steps. Dont have to do a lot to the property as it is mostly bushland with garden around the house. Also have a creek. I am making a few changes there but not sure if doing it right so I am speaking with Duane about that. Send me your address and I will send you those Pittosporum seeds I promised. I have 2 species.....P.revolutum and P.undualtum. They are both great rainforest starters. I would love your project starting from scratch and hope to be able to do it one day.

Posted: Fri May 07, 2010 4:48 am
by Angela Helleren
Hi Shirley and Brett. Here's an article I happened across today that may be of interest to you both. ... nflat.html

I had been reading about the Pyramid Hill Salt Mining (farming?) and the solar energy their salt ponds are producing to process the salt for consumer use. Interesting!
It made me wonder what the salinity in Bretts area is like?