4 Seasons of Seed

Spring – Site Management

The final workshop for the Hay Plains Landcare 4 Seasons of Seed series commenced last Friday at Marg and Colin Bull’s Conargo property Oakville. The focus of this day was site management, and it was led by Australian Network for Plant Conservation Healthy Seeds Project Manager Martin Driver.  Discussion focused on correct site preparation when planting or direct sowing seed with Martin advising that weeds need to be controlled at least 1 metre around  seedlings to reduce moisture loss from the site.  Plantings that were conducted on sandhills during the 4 Seasons of Seed workshop at Oakville in July were checked with some seedlings showing obvious moisture stress and no apparent germination from the direct sowing.  However, a second 2020 direct seeded germination site had many various native plants established with the take home message being that seeds will germinate in their time. Further discussions at Oakville included the inspection of a huge, ancient Moonah tree that survived the 1987 all over property fire which was now fenced with rabbit proof fencing and the observation of a hydraulic arm that Colin has had fitted to his tractor to remove large box thorns. 

Second stop for the day was a fenced, private 40 hectare remnant vegetation site on “Waterloo”, a site south of Hay on the Hay to Conargo road. Fenced by Bert Barnes in 1958, over 200 different plant species have been documented on the site.  Bird sounds were prolific as the group walked through the area observing many species including flowering emu bushes, sugar woods and miljee and fruiting orange seeded ruby saltbushes.  Further stops at Waterloo included the remains of the historic woolshed and a visit to some rare and unique Quorn mallee trees.

Publications released on the day included Oakville – Revegetation and Regeneration; Revegetation Guide – Hay and Surrounds; information on Waterloo and the Hay Rangelands Plant Identification Guide. For copies of this information contact Jade Auldist from Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc on 0428549647

Sally Ware

Winter – Direct Seeding & Planting

The third day in a series of four Seasons of Seed workshops was held at the Conargo property Oakville owned by Marg and Colin Bull on Friday, July 2.  Since a January fire in 1987 that burnt 100% of the property, the Bulls have actively restored and regenerated areas by fencing off the remaining remanent vegetation including completing a connected corridor project.  These corridors are critical for the safe movement of animals which improves the spread of seeds and pollen creating a more resilient landscape. Numerous plantings of local vegetation species have also taken place in fenced areas since 1989 plus management of invasive species. The workshop involved over 30 participants learning about the different methods of direct seeding and planting and observing the success of past plantings and remanent fenced areas on the property. Demonstrations of direct seeding on a fenced sandhill were provided by Bill Auldist from Riverina Local Land Services and Natasha Lappin from Murray Local Land and Services Seed Services and local ecologist and project Manager with the Australian Network for Plant Conservation Martin Driver. Participants also planted seedlings on a sandhill, undertook paddock walks at the woolshed and the homestead and completed a paddock drive to the corridor plantings. Attendees learnt that seed quantity is an important factor to consider when restoring large areas however, use of the direct seeding method can be an effective and efficient way of planting.

Sally Ware

Oakville House – Photo by Brett Naseby

Autumn – Seed Propagation

The second workshop in Autumn discussed the preparation of different seed species, a variety of germination techniques and transplanting seedlings. Demonstrations and displays were provided by Bill Auldist (local Land services) Joanne Diver (Backyard Garden enthusiast), Sally Ware (Local land services), and Martin Driver (Australian Network for Plant Conservation Healthy Seeds Project Manager). The workshop finished with 30 participants making their own tray of seedlings to take home and nurture.

Summer – Seed Collection

Hay Plains Landcare hosted a seed collection workshop at the Golf Club on Friday Feb 19 with Ecologist, Conargo pastoral landholder and Project Manager with the Australian Network for Plant Conservation, Martin Driver.  This workshop was the first of four free Seasons of Seed workshops based on seed collection, propagation, direct seeding and planting and plant identification and weed control.  Over 30 people participated in the workshop with Martin explaining the legalities behind seed collection, how to collect and store seed plus there were displays of seeds available and giveaways.  After lunch supplied by Foodie Friends, the workshop continued outdoors along the Hay to Jerilderie road to look at seed and pods on Miljee trees and a saltbush plantation before moving closer to Hay to inspect seeding Needlewoods and pods on Butterbush trees on the Travelling Stock Route.  The take home message from the workshop was the low incidence of seeds on the western species and the short collection time periods does make it difficult to collect seed in this district

Sally Ware