Project: Farming for Dummies
Posted by Alexandra Berendt over 11 years ago
Well, this is my list of potential fodder trees and shrubs that appear to be suitable to my local area so far:
Information on horses and fodder trees and shrubs seems to be somewhat limited, with the main focus of most research being cattle and sheep.
I do intend on grazing cattle, goats and sheep on my pastures along with my horses in the near future, so I am sure all fodder trees and shrubs that I decide to plant will have an animal to browse on them. The only thing to watch out for with horses is toxicity, as ruminants are often less sensitive to certain toxins than horses and so some fodder trees and shrubs that are recommended for cattle and sheep might not be suitable for horses and will thus be avoided at my property.
As a horse owner, Hendra virus is obviously of concern to me as well, however being located in the midst of a forest with a national park located nearby, there is not much I can do about the existing population of bats and so I do not hesitate to plant any trees that may or may not attract bats to feed or roost on them eventually.
I will attempt to keep all troughs that will be used by horses inside shelters to avoid bat droppings contaminating them and fruit trees will be netted to stop birds and bats spoiling the fruit.
So far, I have acquired a Moretonbay Fig and two Chinese Elms.
I have only planted the two Chinese Elms yesterday, so they don't look like much yet.
I mixed some old horse manure into the holes I dug to plant these guys in (made sure to use very, very old manure to avoid burning the roots), then after planting and filling the holes in I used the left-over dirt to pile up a small earthen wall around the trees, probably around 40-50 cm away from the trunk. I laid some more older horse manure around the outside of that and piled old somewhat rotten wheaten hay from an old roundbale that my horses didn't finish on top of everything (making sure the hay doesn't touch the trees' trunks).
After that I laid about a 2m length of black plastic weed matting on top of this mulch and pinned the corners down with some rocks. Some spoilt lucerne hay went over the top of that. Hopefully these little trees will grow well and establish lots of new roots before spring!
This Moretonbay Fig was planted some time last Spring, alas, I do not remember the exact date. I also have a photo of it somewhere just after planting. It was around a third of this size when first planted out last year.
I have kept it well mulched and so far it has grown very well. We have had some heavy frost already in the last two months and it has tolerated this quite well, despite the nursery person telling me they can be frost tender.
To try and help it through the winter I have loosely rolled an old hessian chaff bag around the trunk underneath the canopy and filled the sides of the tree guard up with some lucerne hay from a bad batch I bought locally and didn't dare feed to the horses due to mold. I'm reasonably confident that it would have done fine even without the additional protection, however I am trying to make it as easy as possible for this tree to establish while we are getting all this nice rain!
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