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The Grower

Tree Scheme Autumn 2014 Number 9

Another year, another 721,550 seedlings By IAN LETT Tree Scheme Manager

As the days get shorter and the woolly slippers are retrieved from the back of the cupboard, it dawns on me that the seedling growing season is drawing to a close. I reflect upon my first six months as the Tree Scheme Manager, which mirrors the six months that you have been growing your seedlings. I hope that, like me, you are enjoying the experience. I had the privilege of meeting many members growing for Backup or the Million Trees Project when they brought in their seedlings. It was a joy to see the pride on growers’ faces such as (pictured left from top) Deb and Joe Jones, Cheryl Weir and Callum Byrne. By now you will have farewelled ‘your babies’ or are just about to, while landholders and those growing for themselves are busy preparing for planting. Despite extreme weather over the past few years, our landholders report that their seedlings have an average 75% survival rate a year after planting. With the past few weeks of initial rains in many areas we are hopeful for good things to come including an increased survival rate of our seedlings once in the ground.

Dappled light = poor quality Seedlings should only be grown in full sun as those grown under trees can suffer from too much shade, leaves which smother the seedlings and seed dropped from trees. We have had very healthy seedlings brought in to our nursery which, unfortunately, were from a tree growing over the back

fence which had dropped its seed. We could not use the seedlings and had to throw them out. These mallee box, Eucalyptus porosa (pictured below), were placed under a pine tree as can be seen by the pine needles in the tubes. They have soft leaves from being in the shade and will require full sun to turn the leaves leathery and to harden the seedlings before planting out.

Native Plant Sale Members save big $$$ May 29-31 Betty Westwood Nursery, Brooklyn Park Members: $50 per box, $25 per half box ($2.50 per seedling) Non-members: $100 per box, $50 per half box ($4.00 per seedling)

2014/15 Growing Schedule: Order seedlings May-July; Register to grow July-Oct Pick up supplies & materials Nov 16 Growing Season Nov 2014-May 2015

Growing Season 2013/14

Back-up stock available

Fast Facts

May 2-4 Friday 10am-3pm, Sat & Sunday 10am-1pm

Volunteer Growers :732 Self Growers : 786 Total Growers: 1,518 Landholder orders: 674,400 Special project orders: 3200 Backup stock: 43,950 Total orders: 721,550 seedlings

The germinator: why haven’t they come up?

Are you growing for a landholder? If you have not been able to grow your full order you can collect Back-up stock from our Betty Westwood Nursery on the above dates. Please bring your growing order with you and work out what you need. We will try to meet your requirements but we may have to give you substitute species as we only have limited stock. If you are a country grower we can set some aside for you. Phone (08) 8406 0500.

others have had good germination and a healthy box full of seedlings. The difference? Attention to detail and following instructions in the Growers Handbook.

Some species are easier to grow than others. Some will germinate and grow with very little care, while others need special treatment. In the latter group is Kennedia, or running postman. Many growers have had problems growing Kennedia this year. Some have had no germination, some have had partial germination, while

Page 44 of the Handbook specifies that Kennedia requires seed treatment method #1. It is important to follow the instructions exactly. Place seeds into a mug of hot water from the tap. Do not use boiling water. Allow to soak for about 6 hours. Remove seed from water using a strainer. Sow all the seed.

Seed treatment is needed for seed with a hard seed coating. This includes Acacias, Hardenbergia, Dodonea, Eutaxia, Pultenaea, Senna, Templetonia, Viminaria and our Kennedia. Each of these genera require specific seed treatment, and using the wrong method is likely to result in poor germination. For example Acacia sclerophylla requires treatment first with hot water, then with cold water (Treatment #2) whereas many other Acacia species require only boiled water (Treatment #3).

Sowing dates tell their own story A number of growers brought in seedlings for backup which were either much larger, or much smaller, than the rest. It emerged that these growers sowed their seed before or after the sow by date. The next time you receive a packet of seed look at the sowing date. If it is November or December, that species will need the whole 6 months season to reach planting out stage. For example many Acacias take 4-6 weeks to germinate and mature slowly. If the sowing date is January or later the plants will mature more quickly and often germinate more quickly. They include Eucalyptus, which can grow rapidly. Sowing on the date recommended will ensure that your plants are neither pot bound from sowing too early, nor immature from sowing too late. The outcome is healthier seedlings which establish better resulting in stronger trees.

Above: Lachlan Batty proudly displays the backup seedlings he grew. Left: Kennedia prostrata seedlings for backup stock. The box on the far left shows poor germination and weak growth. The middle box shows good germination and vigorous growth. On the right is the Kennedia flower which appears from August to November.

Contact Us:

Trees For Life 5 May Terrace, Brooklyn Park 5032 Ph: (08) 8406 0500 Fax: (08) 8406 0500

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The Grower Newsletter Summer 2014  

News and tips for volunteer growers in the Tree Scheme