At Keep It Cool, we’re serious about trees. And we want our trees to not only survive, but grow up to be strong, resilient and part of a thriving ecosystem. We have developed a planting methodology that uses best practices outlined in:
The Australian Alps National Parks: Rehabilitation Field Guide.
The Native Tree and Shrub Planting Guide, developed by Upper Snowy Landcare.
In addition to this we have gleaned plenty of information from local experts, including Liz MacPhee of Alpine Flora and Annie Platts of Monaro Native tree Nursery.
With all of our plantings we establish, we make sure to abide by the three C’s.
Care - We care about the ecosystems that we want to regenerate. We utilise sufficient expertise, resources and time in our plantings to ensure we have successful projects in the long term.
Conserve - We strive to retain and conserve all of the available resources on our sites. We aim to build self-sustaining and resilient ecosystems with all of our planting projects. A healthy ecosystem functions best when it retains enough of it’s own resources. Including top soil, seed banks, micro-organisms, plants, biomass, microclimates, water and sediments.
Commit - We are committed to the long term success of our planting projects. To maximise our positive impact we must ensure that each project is successful. We engage in rigorous follow-up maintenance for up to 10 years for each planting.
Our recipe for planting:
1 - Site Assessment - We liaise with landholders to assess what we can do on their site. We work closely with the landholders to see what they want to get out of the planting. We look at size and scope of the site.
2 - Species Selection - We select a mix of native species that are present in the planting region. We plant a mixture of Eucalypt trees and understory shrubs to mimic the natural vegetation in surrounding areas. This helps our plantations develop into self-sustaining ecosystems that provide habitat for native fauna.
3 - Site Preparation - We prepare the site by using machines to “deep rip” planting lines to loosen up the soil. We then spray organic herbicide over those lines to limit competing ground cover vegetation and manage any noxious weeds. This process allows our seedlings to have the best chance of survival.
4 - Planting - We work with our partners and our communities to hold volunteer planting days. Volunteers will be instructed by professional planters on best practices and given the opportunity to plant as many trees as they can. We plant our seedlings at roughly 3m apart, at a density of 1000 plants per hectare. We work on a simple formula for planting our seedlings.
Dig a hole deep enough to cover up to 2/3 of the seedling
Place a fertiliser tablet and water crystals at the base of the hole
Place seedling in hole and fill in soil up to ground level
Create a well of soil around the rim of the seedling, to help catch and store water
If required, fit tree guard around the seedling.
5 - Follow up - It means a lot to us that we maximise our impact. And to do this we need to be sure that our plants survive. Plants are most vulnerable during the first 12 months of life. We have a key team of volunteers who perform regular follow up maintenance to our planting sites. This includes remote watering, tree guard maintenance and implementing measures to prevent browsing wildlife from snacking on our seedlings.