David Wood wrote:We've planted several thousand trees already at our agroforestry block. We're planning to put in a lot more. Most of our trees - eucalypts, acacias, banksias and other natives - have come from specialist tree nurseries as tubestock in forestry tubes. We're also having a crack at planting some seeds directly after appropriate stratification, water soaking etc.
But we're also opportunistic about getting plants from other sources. We bought several cypress varieties in pots at the end of last spring from a nursery having a clearance sale. These trees were already several years old which goes some way to justifying the extra price compared to tubestock. And we bought a few silver birch - also heavily discounted - as bare rooted trees.
Toona ciliata (Australian Red Cedar) is an excellent timber species that grows naturally in coastal New South Wales particularly heading up into the sub-tropics. But I've seen it growing successfully when planted in the Otways. There are specimens growing in several botanic gardens in Victoria. So we would like to grow some. I saw some growing at a property in the Yarra Valley. It's always nice to get a provenance that you know handles site conditions similar to your site. These trees produce prodigious quantities of seeds some of which were growing in the house gutters. So when the gutters were next cleared out, the property owner kindly put some of these seedlings in a seedling tray in their shadehouse. Unfortunately, due to one thing and another by the time I had the two seedling trays some months later, some of the seedlings were 1m tall! The roots had grown through the slats in the bottom of the tray. It was a mess. So I spent several hours laboriously cutting the tree roots free of the plastic. We potted them up but because getting the trees free of the plastic had caused all sorts of damage I thought most of them would cark it. My wife has a well-established Distressed Tree Management Process that essentially relies on giving them a good environment, looking after them and letting nature do its thang. After all, the trees have a strong interest in survival. We put them in some shade under some of our fruit trees in the backyard and we've fed them a bit and kept them watered. Those toonas are one tough species. 4 months or so later we've only lost about ten of the 70 seedlings I cut free. If we can keep them alive for another couple of months through Melbourne's summer - which so far hasn't been anywhere near as hot as last year's - they can go in the ground at the block.
We did a propagation workshop in late 2013 with the Otways Agroforestry Network. Part of this workshop covered pricking out very small seedlings into forestry tubes. We have some Myrtle beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) from this workshop that are now in their 2nd year. We will plant them later this year. We also took some cuttings off a Sequoia semper virens - the very tall coastal sequoia as against giganteum that is also pretty tall but tends to be a bit shorter with an enormous diameter - and propagated them. All of ours have struck and are now sitting on our back porch waiting to be planted. Sequoias grow very well in Victoria. They're becoming a well accepted agroforestry tree in New Zealand. The property next door to our block has an enormous specimen that I think might be a giganteum it's so big. And it's growing on an exposed slope with very little shelter. If they can grow that well in an unfavourable position, I think a few tucked away down in a gully might do OK.
We were at a nursery yesterday where we found some grevilleas on special at $2/pot. They look OK - we picked the best - and while they will probably be a bit rootbound we'll plant them and see how they go. Grevillea robusta (common name Silky oak) is a lovely timber and we're planning to grow some. What we bought yesterday won't get as as big as robusta but they have attractive flowers that have a market as well as attracting various birds and the timber may be good for woodturners.
Continuing with the opportunistic theme, we've also planted some volunteer nectarines from a friend's place. A lot of the fruit trees make nice timber. We'll manage these silviculturally with the intention of producing small logs. Because they're on natural rootstock they will grow larger than grafted trees. Cherries and apples can both get very large. I'm not sure how big a nectarine can get but all going well we will find out
Jay Hayes wrote:Andrew,
From your description I would say you do not have a scarlet oak. Scarlets (Quercus Coccinea) are a red oak group and look a bit like Pin Oaks (Quercus Palustris) in bark, leaf, and acorn morphology. Generally they have very small acorns, like the size of a normal adults thumb nail. The diagnostic feature for Scarlet oak acorns is pronounced concentric circles surrounding the point on the bottom of the acorn.
J [/quot Yes But what is it///??
Michael Cox wrote:july... that is southern hemisphere winter right? Are your bees even flying then or are they dormant? Ours would be essentially dormant at the equivalent time of year. During dormancy they rely on winter stores of honey rather than foraging nectar. If your bees are starving through winter perhaps you are harvesting too heavily in Autumn?
Spring harvesting can be effective, once you know the bees have made it through and are bringing in fresh nectar from the spring flows.
Lonicera seems to be the only thing that flowers here in july
Michael Cox wrote:I'll have a stab at this, but you may not like the answer...
Bees forage over an area of between 3 and 5 miles in radius. Area is approx 75 square miles... around 20,000 hectares. Unless your planting is making a sizeable impact when compared to this scale the benefits to a hive are going to be marginal. Perhaps with the exception of moderate planting that fulfil a specific fodder need for the bees at critical times of year.
Far more important from the bees point of view is being situated in a diverse and productive environment on much broader scales than single plantings. One of the factors that has been linked to the decline of bees is large areas of monocrop agriculture (far large than were seen historically) leaving bees with no forage for portions of the year.
If I were thinking about planting specifically for bees I would survey the surrounding area and try to get an feeling for what species are already represented and some idea of when in the year there may be a hungry gap (a period with a short fall in nectar flow). Then I would look at how to incorporate species at provide nectar and pollen over that specific period, but also provide other yields for me (eg trees provide fodder and fuel wood, crops that provide fruit or seeds, nitrogen fixers that support the whole food web, flowers for cutting eg lavender).
I don't want to discourage from planting with bees in mind, but think that a broader scale view would be more beneficial to the bees.
Emil Spoerri wrote:after labor is factored, sheep are much more productive Big call!!!
cashmere and angora is rather i don't know... for those who can afford it
not exactly fiber but... some meat rabbits have excellent and valuable pelts!