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Tree Carbon Project Update

November is the month for tree watering! Why are we watering trees you say? It's our first year establishing trees in Buntine as part of our Regenerative Farmer Tree Carbon Project.

Christie from Dirty Clean Food in Buntine

This year has been an exceptionally dry year, meaning we are experiencing the one of the driest seasons on record at two of the farms we are planting trees on-Stuart McAlpine’s farm, and the East Kulinbah (a block that Wide Open Agriculture purchased from Stuart).

When we planted 18,000 trees at Stuart’s and 12,000 at East Kulinbah back in July, we knew that if the season had a dry spring that we’d need to give the trees an extra helping hand to get them through their first summer.

Christie, our Farming Relations Coordinator, worked with Stuart to find the best way to get water to these trees, similar to how we watered them back in 2019 at East Kulinbah. Back then we used a firefighter unit and a truck, with around 1,000 litres on the firefighter and 5,000 litres on the truck.
This year Stuart used one truck with a 10,000 litre tank, with one person driving the truck, and 2 people walking alongside or watering from the back. This was more efficient, as less time was spent travelling back to the fill up point, and the two people hand watering had more control over where the water was going.
The trees got around 10 litres of water each, which will really flood their root zone, and encourage their roots to grow deeper down into the subsoil, to keep chasing that moisture.

Sourcing labour was the trickiest part of this project, and Stuart managed to get a lovely French backpacking couple, Camille, and Antoine, who helped to water while Bain drove the truck slowly and methodically along each of the rows. A big thanks to this team for getting out there in the heat and the flies to get the water to our trees!

These trees were planted back in July by Dan Wildy from Woodland services, where they had to contend with dry soil and rocky terrain over at East Kulinbah, which led to some breakdowns and paddock mechanic fixes. These photos were taken along the sandplain planting at Stuart’s, which is alongside the lower salty riparian zone. These trees will help to keep the water table lower in this area and add more habitat and diversity to the existing bushland and saltbush areas.

The establishment of these seedlings is different in different areas, but overall is sitting around 60%. This means we will be planting more infill seedlings next season or the following season, to get the coverage we need as part of the Carbon Project.

The seedlings that have survived so far are actually looking quite good, which means that they have their roots down into the subsoil moisture. With this extra top up, they should be well set up to make it through a long hot summer at Buntine.

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