Paddock Trees

Value existing paddock trees as published in the Crookwell Gazette 17.1.2017

Paddock trees are those ancient trees branching out over the paddock providing shade on hot sunny days. Often they can be hundreds of years old. Not only do they provide shade for stock, but also a home for a variety of creatures such as birds, lizards, bats and gliders. These creatures can have a significant impact on devouring insect pests. Studies have also shown that improved water infiltration and nutrient cycling occurs in paddocks with a scattering of trees.

However, these trees are under threat. Paddock trees are dying from a variety of influences including, compaction from stock, cropping and fertiliser application too close to the root system and spray drift.

Standing out alone in the paddock, negative impacts are intensified if only a small number of paddock trees are present. Stock camp around the only one or two trees present and leave their manure. These nutrients are taken up by the lonely tree producing a flush of new delicious growth that attracts a disproportionate number of hungry scarab beetles. Continued stock camping also leaves the area denuded of vegetation and so prone to erosion which can destabilise the tree. Life can become very out of balance for a lonely paddock tree.

We can plant more paddock trees but they will take years to develop the size and structure of the giants we see today. We should protect our existing paddock trees. By incorporating existing paddock trees into a tree planting block or lane is one way. Allowing a larger buffer when spraying, fertilising and cropping is another.

Upper Lachlan Landcare supports a community-based approach to managing and protecting our natural resources – creating more productive and sustainable farms, conserving our environment and building more cohesive and resilient communities.

For more information contact; Ruth Aveyard 0447 242 474

Or Helen Ward 0488 027 653