As I mention in the ABOUT page of this website, I have planted a few stands of trees on our property. At the moment there are about 750 trees that have been planted on our 16 acres with the intention that one day in the distant future some of them can be sustainably harvested for timber.
Over the last ten years I have chosen tree species that seemed suitable for our growing conditions, mainly of the good furniture timber varieties and sometimes just because it was a species that I wanted to try and I liked the look of. In the mix are varieties of oak, walnut, maple, cherry and many others. Alders have often been planted between other species to provide nitrogen and encourage straight and upright growth, these will be felled in time to give the other trees more room.
Most of our trees were bought from Appletons Nursery near Nelson. The trees arrive bare-rooted in the winter and on arrival here they are temporarily placed in loose soil mounds. As we find the time over the next weeks they are planted out. Luckily we have some good tree shelter-belts that were planted many years ago, these help a lot in keeping the worst of the wind off the young trees.
During the winter months I prune the older trees and shrubs on the property and this provides all our firewood and huge piles of mulch. Before the warm and dry months arrive we spread this mulch around all the newly planted trees to help see them through the summer. I have also installed irrigation and we are able to do some watering when the trees need it.
From the first year some of the trees need staking and tying to improve their shape and from about their second year the pruning starts. Some of our trees are now over eight years old and we are very happy with how they look.
We get a lot of pleasure from our trees in every season. The soil around the trees has improved so much compared to when these were just grass and weed paddocks. We have never seen so many earthworms as there now are under the trees in the leaf litter. Birdlife has increased an amazing amount here since we arrived ten years ago.
The cost in time and effort has not been much compared to the pleasure we get from our trees. Our property, the soil and nature generally is a lot better off since we planted the trees and I also feel good knowing that I have planted many more trees than I will ever use in my cabinetmaking.