Site preparation for tree establishment
Farmers can use several techniques to improve
and enhance the quality of a site on which to plant a forest.
preparing the soil
fertilising the site
irrigating the site
guarding the plants from pests
providing shelter from the elements.
The technique(s) chosen will largely depend on the factors
currently limiting site quality, costs involved, availability
of appropriate equipment and anticipated impact(s). The impact
of site modification on growth can be dramatic where treatments
are able to address the factors most limiting to growth. Two
examples that clearly demonstrate this are the effect of controlling
weed competition in young plantations and the effect of deep
ripping on soils with pronounced shallow hardpans. However,
as forests develop the factors that limit growth will change.
Intensive site preparation and fertiliser use to promote early
growth might not provide any long-term advantage. These strategies
might only mean the plantation reaches the growth limits set
by other resources more quickly.
Farmers must have a clear purpose in mind when they modify
a potential farm forest site. In many cases farmers might
not be able to justify the financial costs of intensive site
preparation, and its effect on other valuesfor example,
the risk of erosion or leaching of nutrients and chemicals.
Farmers might also be able to save a lot of money by using
their own equipment or methods to achieve a similar outcome.
Identifying resource and environmental limitations is the
key to determining the most appropriate establishment method.
Resource limitations include time, cash and equipment. Environmental
limitations include drought, vermin, waterlogging, hardpans,
rocks and weeds.
Back to top