For my 40th birthday, my best mates gave me a self-flown joy flight in a light plane. When given the controls I headed straight for home. What was at first a wonderful sense of flying became a bizarre reality check, seeing so much green turning to brown in the summer heat. Most creek lines were bare, and the general lack of bushland within the giant quilt of farmland was shocking. You don’t see this contrast from the ground, always seeing a tree in the foreground, or a hedgerow in the middle distance.
A single big gumtree can give the impression of health, yet the area I live in is a mostly deforested farmed zone exploited for its impressive topsoil. Having tapped into the potential of a 24 hour period of life, and since I love planting trees, I decided to plant a tree a minute on a friend’s dairy farm by reforesting a creekline. Low and behold, planting that many mixed trees on muddy terrain, slipping on my arse every other minute, was one of the hardest, most rewarding days of my life.
Based on the antics of ‘A Tree A Minute’ (which was recently released on YouTube) a whole buncha good folks have asked a whole buncha weird and wonderful questions about trees, my back, the planter, mud, gumboots and a bloke’s dirty hands.
How are the trees doin' mate?
Thanks for asking. Of the 1438 that went in (and yes, May’s stolen trees were planted in the corner of my/Helen’s farm with another 40 natives), about a dozen or so didn’t take (likely not planted tight enough, or were a little root bound), which is pretty good stats almost 4 months after planting. Spring has been a bumper, which is mostly good, but does mean the grass has gone bonkers and is now as tall as the stakes. This is great for holding humidity/moisture in the ground, wind protection, and shade, but bad in terms of competition for the trees themselves (ground moisture and light). All pretty basic stuff but so far so good. A haircut of grass around the trees is in order.
What types of trees did you plant you red headed bastard?
I might have beauified this question… I planted 25 varieties; 8 types of gum (eucalyptus); four types of wattle (acacia); blackwood; several types of tee-tree (melaleuca); shea-oak (casuarina); hakia; some spikey numbers I forget the name of; and some fancy varieties that are pretty rare and pretty in the valley.
Why didn't you use a special planter and plant a lot more trees you beardless tosser?
A few folks who’ve planted a lot more trees in a day were keen to tell me of my deficiencies. I used square tube stock and not the smaller cylindrical kind that can be used in a special type of planter. 1) I couldn’t get cylindrical tube stock. 2) I didn’t have a special planter and 3) I did try to get a hold of 1 and 2 but glad I didn’t, even if it made things slower, more inefficient and backbreaking.
Planting a whole bunch of trees at Heath’s place.
Who paid for the trees?
Mitch (co-producer of our YouTube channel) and I paid for the trees. Taking a hit from our epic YouTube earnings, although at the time of writing the ad-revenue from the film’s release has almost covered the cost we outlayed. Goodonyas!
What did Heath name the creek?
For some reason the paperwork Heath submitted to council for renaming the creek went missing. I sent in a replacement with Heath’s wishes, which were something along the lines of ‘Red Legend Creek’.
Thanks for all the questions folks. I plan to make a follow up film about the trees in two years time.