Issue Number #38
Issue Date Winter 2007
Number of Articles Online 1 Articles
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Title Growing season 06-07: The Roundup

This year the Network has undertaken a survey of growers to examine the outcomes of the 06-07 growing season. The survey was initiated following some feedback about a "poor" season. "Poor in what way?" we asked.

Overtime annual growing season survey results will help us all to learn more about the specific requirements of different species, and roughly determine expected survival rates. We will also be able to learn some tricks from those growers with consistently great results!

From a scientific perspective the survey is fairly rough and ready and therefore it is difficult to make any real conclusions about the "poor" season. For example when looking at the cause of high germination but low survival in a species there are so many possible variables. Was browsing an issue, did germinants get too hot, not enough sun, not enough water, was it the potting mix, did people count thinning??? The list goes on...

The survey has produced a valuable baseline and over time we will refine the survey so we can compare within and between years and determine if the performance of a species is different from the average.

This year it was thought that the potting mix in the south may have been of a poorer quality than in previous years resulting in good germination but very slow growth of seedlings. The survey results are not conclusive, however some growers have reported excellent results following re-potting seedlings into new soil.

Some interesting results:

Species with very poor germination:

  • Banksia serrata
  • Helichrysum scorpoides
  • Helichrysum scutellifoium
  • Pultenea daphnoides

Species slow to germinate:

  • Bursaria spinosa (Autumn)
  • Acacia mucronata ? 16wks
  • Banksia marginata ? 6-19wks
  • Billardiera longifolia ? 16wks
  • Bossiaea cinerea ? 11wks
  • Gahnia grandis ? 13wks
  • Gompholobium huegelii
  • Leptospermum lanigerum ? 16-19wks
  • Pultenea daphinoides ? 19wks

Species with good germination but low seedling survival

  • Acacia genistifolia
  • Acacia verticillata
  • Bedfordia linearis

If you are interested in receiving a spreadsheet of the results please contact Ruth.

Planting Time Tips

It is planting time again, and no doubt some of you will have already started planting out your tube stock. Here are a few tips to ensure your seedlings get the best possible start.

Preparing the site

WEED control is essential. It may involve scalping the soil for small-scale plantings,or for larger scale paddock revegetation, involve ripping then spraying or cultivating after the autumn break.

Remember, compact planting areas are better than narrow ones as they will reduce the edge effects on vegetation once it establishes.

SOIL needs to be broken up to allow the roots to penetrate. In a paddock this may involve ripping (except in sandy soils and cracking clays) or for smaller scale plantings digging holes deeper and wider than the root ball of the plant. Shape the hole into a bowl shaped depression to encourage water to flow towards the plant.

When to plant

The key is adequate SOIL MOISTURE. Depending on location and rainfall, planting can commence from late April until September (in wetter areas only). Planting in Autumn/ early winter allows plants to establish strong and vigorous root systems before the soil dries out. If you are prepared to water you may be able to plant beyond these times.

How to plant

Give plants a good soak before planting. Remove the plant from the tube by gently squeezing the tube at the base to loosen it and then upending the pot and tapping the top edge allowing the plant to slide out. NEVER pull a plant out of its pot!

Ideally a plant will have equal ratio of root to shoot, if plants are too tall you may need to trim them, ensuring that there are enough leaves to survive.

Place the plant in the hole to a depth such that the soil will just cover the top of the rootball as it did in the pot. Do not plant too deeply. Backfill around the rootball and press/step firmly around the plant to eliminate large air pockets. Good root-soil contact will ensure the roots can access water.

If rain is not imminent, thoroughly water plants (this will also help to eliminate air gaps).

Protect your plants

Considering the effort and cost you have invested so far it is worth protecting your plants.

If weeds are a problem use MULCH MATS around each plant. Follow up weed control is often required.

If browsing animals and wind are an issue use a PLANT GUARD/mesh sock and/or fencing. To reduce costs, guards can be made from recycled milk cartons.


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