The Regeneration Areas
When we bought Rubicon, there was a 0.1 ha area at the northern end of the agricultural drain infested with buttercups, Lotus spp., grass and thistles. There was a much smaller problem closer to the road. We decided to try to shade out the weeds by planting densely with indigenous trees and shrubs.
We made an unsuccessful attempt at replanting the area by direct seeding with local provenance seed of Acacia melanoxylon, Eucalyptus ovata, Leptospermum scoparia, Leptospermum lanigera, Melaleuca squarrosa and Diplarrena moraea.
Our next attempt at replanting, successful this time, was first to hoe and hand-weed the weed area, then spread it thickly with mulch and finally to plant out seedling shrubs and trees raised from our seed by Jim McLeod from Oldina Nursery.
We planted the seedlings in pairs – one in a cage and one uncaged – as an experiment to see whether caging was cost effective.
The blackwood seedlings really benefitted from caging, the Leptospermum lanigera and Melaleuca squarrosa seedlings were nibbled by herbivores but resprouted,
whereas the Eucalyptus ovata seedlings survived quite well without caging - see our report: Experiment to determine whether putting protective wire mesh cages round seedling plants improves their survival and growth.
The trees and shrubs have grown well. Each year we have added more mulch underneath them. The result is that the former weed area is now a shady grove of Eucalyptus ovata and Acacia melanoxylon, with an understorey of Leptospermum lanigera and Melaleuca squarrosa, and with hardly a weed in sight.