Conditions to thrive
With the reserves of Tuart trees in the State Forests of the Ludlow region at critically low levels, it is important to establish conditions for those that we plant to thrive for future generations. Unlike the aboriginal custodians, we no longer use fire to establish the best foundation for a Tuart tree to grow from seed. Instead, we buy our Tuart stock from local nurseries and plant them in pre-prepared soil. But even nowadays, threats still exist for these small plants.
A delicacy for kangaroos and rabbits, the little Tuart plant needs protection from these hungry predators as it matures. Good fencing becomes very important. One plot of fenced Tuart Forest not far from Ludlow, has seen the return of at least 30 orchid varieties now that they are fenced and protected from Kangaroos and Rabbits. Something for us to look forward to in our Ludlow Forest.
It’s not just hungry animals that threaten the regrowth of the Tuart Forest. Did you know that the Tuart tree, like some other trees, suffers from canopy shyness? This means they don’t like to touch or grow under or through another plants canopy. So, for the Tuart to thrive, it must be planted in open ground and some years ahead of the native Peppermint tree so that the Tuart establishes the higher canopy, just as the earlier settlers described for us when they wrote about the Tuart Forest with the Peppermint understory.
And finally, another threat to the survival of these magnificent trees is the Arum Lilly. An introduced plant that is sculpturally attractive, the Arum Lilly has spread like a virus across the southwest corner of Western Australia. Its fast growing, wide spreading habit means that small native plants and our Tuart trees cannot grow through the thick fleshy plant. The Arum Lilly starves small native shrubs and new trees of light and water. As a result, the native animals are starved of their natural food sources and our native plants and animals are disappearing.