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How do you pick a good seed?

 Did you know you can grow your own native plants without expensive, specialist equipment? But to ensure success it’s important to start with healthy, viable seed. So how do you pick a good seed from a dud?

To get the best quality seed, start with a healthy, natural population of parent plants. Collect seed locally if possible, environmental conditions should be considered, but collecting seed from a large and genetically diverse population is much more important. Avoid neighbouring plants as they are most probably related and instead collect seed from widely spaced healthy plants. Isolated plants should also be avoided as they may not be able to cross-pollinate so are likely to carry inbred, unhealthy seed.

Want to find out more? Come along to our seed collection and propagation workshop on Sunday 6 May and gain knowledge and skills to select for viable seed, ensure successful germination and give your seedlings the best start.

Seed Success: Start with healthy, viable seed.

The workshop will be run by local ecologist, David Allworth, and local botanist, Christine McRae, and will cover basic identification features of some commonly found local plant species; why collecting locally is best; safety, permission, timing, methods, storing collected material; equipment and processing of collected material; methods and materials for propagation and the best time to sow seed.

The hands-on workshop will take participants through the tools and techniques required to select viable seed and provide plenty of actual experience in seed sieving, preparing potting mix, sowing seed and handling seedlings. The emphasis of the workshop will be introducing people to a few tricks to ensuring a good germination, and doing so at low or no cost in terms of equipment; generally most the things required to germinate plants can be found in the domestic garbage bin or in the shed.

Participants will also gain an insight into local plant ecology and have access to seed and material propagated on the day.

The seed collection and propagation workshop will be held from 9am to 12 noon on Sunday 6 May at the Straw Bale Shed, AREC. The workshop is free to attend with morning tea and lunch provided.

All welcome but RSVP is essential for catering purposes. For more information or to book your spot please contact Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or info@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare through funding from Michael King and Landcare Australia.

Improve your land

Do you want to increase productivity, reduce operating costs and improve the land value of your farm?

Landholders can achieve all this by encouraging native vegetation on their farms:

  • Farms with shade trees and shelter belts are more aesthetically appealing and attract a premium over average land values. A survey conducted in the Central West indicated that farms with good quality native vegetation have a 15% increase on capital value compared to those without.
  • Crop and pasture productivity is increased by remnant native vegetation and established shelter belts. Native trees and shrubs provide habitat for birds, lizards and bats, the natural enemies of pasture pests.
  • Pastures and crops with some tree cover experience less soil moisture loss than those exposed to the full force of the wind.
  • Cold and heat stress in livestock can significantly reduce farm income by reducing stock fertility, weight gain, wool growth, milk production, and increasing the mortality rate of calves and lambs and the susceptibility of stock to disease.

Paddock Trees Project: Providing funding to landholders to enhance and protect farm vegetation. Individual landholders able to apply for up to $2,750 in funding.

Scattered paddock trees also serve an important function for native wildlife, providing a food source and nesting sites. They also act as stepping stones for animal movement between other patches of vegetation and water sources.

Many existing mature trees on agricultural land in temperate Australia are in decline. This is not isolated to paddock trees, mature trees in larger stands of vegetation are also disappearing, but often the effects are more pronounced in isolated trees.

There are a number of things landholders can do to help protect paddock trees and help their regeneration. Fencing around selected trees will help to protect them from stock and limit detrimental agricultural practices such as applying fertilizer in the root zone and reducing herbicide spray drift. Planting additional shade trees for stock can also take the pressure off the old giants.

Watershed Landcare is currently running a Paddock Trees project which aims to enhance areas of highly cleared ecosystems in the Central Tablelands Local Land Services region by increasing the extent of paddock trees and clusters.

We are seeking expressions of interest for funding from landholders in our region to conduct on-ground works to improve linkages between remnant native vegetation on the land they mange. Funding is available for materials or labour for protection of existing remnant vegetation and/or new plantings.

The project is supported by Watershed Landcare and Central Tablelands LLS through funding from the Australian Government. Total funding of $16,500 is available, with individual landholders able to apply for up to $2,750 in funding.

For further details visit our website.

Applications close 23 February 2018. Please contact Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator on 0435 055 493 or info@watershedlandcare.com.au for further information or to discuss your project idea.

Pro Event Calendar

Paddock Trees and Farm Vegetation Management Workshop

As part of the Paddock Trees project, Watershed Landcare and Central Tablelands Local Land Services will be hosting a Paddock Trees and Farm Vegetation Management workshop on Tuesday, 10 April.

We have invited Dhyan Blore, Principal Consultant at Native Biota Rural Ecology, to share her extensive knowledge in rural vegetation management and the establishment and care of native plants.

A Restoration Ecologist and Environmental Horticulturist, Dhyan has over 20 years practical experience in working with private landholders, state and local government and commercial businesses. She has expertise in bushland management, rural vegetation management, farm forestry, farm windbreak design and management and has held positions with NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Farm Forestry Strategy, as well as a number of roles as a rural extension specialist including working on the Box Gum Grassy Woodland Project.

The focus of the workshop will be to provide landholders with knowledge and practical information to enable them to establish and mange their own native vegetation plantings.

Some of the topics that will be covered include species selection for various sites and purposes, tree planting techniques, short term follow up and later management, including thinning, grazing, etc.

Workshop participants are invited to lead the discussion, so come along with any questions you might have.

The Paddock Trees and Farm Vegetation Management workshop will be held at 4:30-7pm Tuesday, 10 April in the Seminar Room, Australian Rural Education Centre (AREC) Ulan Rd, Mudgee.

All welcome. The workshop is free to attend and a light supper will be provided.

Please RSVP for catering purposes by Monday 9 April to Agness Knapik, Watershed Landcare Coordinator, on 0435 055 493 or info@watershedlandcare.com.au.

This event is supported by Watershed Landcare and Central Tablelands LLS through funding from the Australian Government.