How to plant trees so livestock can’t eat them!

So today I would like to share with you how I have planted some Silver Sheen Pittosporum on my 2 acre block, but done it in such a way that the cattle will not be able to eat them.

As shown in the photo below, we used:

  • Trees
  • Bamboo sticks
  • Plastic tree protector bags
  • Shovel
  • Large crow bar
  • Buckets
  • Water (in the old herbicide container)
  • Native fertiliser

Here you can see the finished product.

We had already constructed a five strand tree-break fence with three live wires to help prevent livestock from entering the protected area. Live wires are top, second and fourth wires down and are easily seen due to the black insulators stopping the current from entering the metal star pickets.

Holes were dug for each tree. The ground was very hard despite it being the middle of winter, as it has been a very dry season so far. The presence of nearby established trees as seen in the background did not help as they are removing much of the moisture from the soil. We used the shovel and the crow bar to make holes sufficiently large enough to fit each tree. Once each tree was in the ground, we applied a handful of native fertiliser around the base, and watered them liberally. It is important to build in a small moat-like structure so that in summer when the trees require weekly watering to help keep them alive, the water will not drain away to areas away from each tree.

The smaller trees were also protected with the tree-protector bags, held in place by three of the bamboo sticks each. The bags will help to prevent wind damage as well as act almost like a mini glasshouse, warming the trees up when the sun shines on them. They will also help to protect against rabbits which might try to eat the bark from the trunks.

If you are unable to utilise an electric fence…

This is an example of a small number of trees that were fenced off about three years ago. Horizontal posts have been placed between each corner post to prevent the fence being pushed in. The height of the fence needed to be raised as the trees grew bigger, as the cattle were then able to reach the top leaves and prevent them growing adequately. The top wire is barbed, as are other single wires, to help put cattle off pushing their heads through.

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