Paddock Trees Project

Upper Goulburn Landcare Network has recently secured funding from the previous Federal Government’s Community Environment Grants to protect paddock trees. Funding is being offered to landholders in the Murrindindi Shire region for fencing and planting of understorey under individual paddock trees. Funding is being provided at $5/m for fencing. Revegetation of local native shrubs funded at $3 per plant and materials will be required in each site, and funding is also available for mistletoe control as needed. (Applications are now closed).

Paddock Trees Project

Large old Redgum at Yarck

What value do you put on your paddock tree? It’s not hard to see how much stock appreciate shelter in a paddock – they always have their favourite tree for camping under in the summer, and will be happier nestling into vegetation to have a break from the wind.

You may be surprised to know that many of our paddock trees are between 200 – 800 years of age. Unfortunately, stock are loving them to death – the attrition rate for paddock trees is about 3% and estimated that most will be lost from our landscape in the next 40 – 185 years under current conditions.

Paddock trees being generally large old trees provide hollows for nesting and more nectar than younger trees. Fallen leaf litter provides habitat for lizards, frogs, mammals and birds.

Bats are a major user of paddock trees and play an important role in controlling agricultural pests – especially in landscapes with isolated vegetation and less bird activity.

So what is the best way to protect your paddock tree and maintain shelter in your paddock for stock?

Probably the easiest and cheapest method is to leave fallen branches around the base of the tree. This protects the trunk itself from being browsed or ringbarked and enables cattle to rub on sharp branches rather than the trunk itself.

If you are looking out for the long term health of your paddock tree, fence off a few together in a more substantial clump and plant some local native shrubs from around the area. Shrubs will provide a better refuge for smaller woodland birds that effectively clean insects from the leaves and bark of paddock trees, and a more substantial area will allow those big old trees a chance to set seed and produce some offspring at last

Chris Cobern

Upper Goulburn Landcare Network

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