A million trees planted across Murray region

By Jamie Salter

Corowa and Berrigan are some of the locations where more than a million trees and shrubs are being planted across the Murray region.

The trees are being planted by Murray Local Land Services through its Seed Services team, as part of a program that harvests and processes native seeds for revegetation projects and local nurseries.

Each year over summer, the Seed Services team collects seeds out in the field, but recent dry seasons and poor spring rainfall have resulted in limited seed set on many native plants.

Seed Services co-ordinator Susan Logie said these conditions were making the task of collecting seeds increasingly difficult.

“Fortunately, we’ve been able to access our seed production areas, which have provided up to 80 per cent of the 240 kg of seed harvested this year,” Ms Logie said.

Seed production areas are sites designed to provide large quantities of genetically diverse, quality seed from a variety of species.

“SPAs were first established in our catchment 20 years ago,” Ms Logie said.

“At this time, it became apparent that native vegetation on roadsides and public lands could not supply the quantities of seed required for large-scale direct seeding.

“SPAs are now our primary source of seed for all our revegetation projects.”

Direct seeding is a method of revegetation which sows seed directly into the ground with a purpose-built machine towed by a four-wheel drive. It uses about 1 kg of seed for every 1.5 ha planted.

“It’s a fast and efficient way to get the seeds into the ground,” Ms Logie said.

However, SPAs do need to be managed and maintained to keep them productive.

The average productive life of shrub species planted in a SPA is between 10 and 12 years, excluding the three to four years it takes to establish before they become productive.

Ms Logie said over the past 24 years, the team had improved the way it designed and selected species origins, to enhance genetic diversity and resilience to climate change.

“We currently have 12 active SPAs in our catchment and several in the establishment phase,” she said.

“With good spring rains we hope for a bumper harvest this year.”

For revegetation advice, native seed supply and direct seeding services, phone Susan Logie at Murray Local Land Services on 0427 352 117.