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Sentree + stockings = less browsing

seedlings in stockings red

Plastic net stockings placed over seedlings in the nursery will protect them from mammalian browsing after they've been planted in the field.

Dr Alison Miller has been working on a two-year project, funded by the TCFA (Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement), on “Manipulating seedling palatability for non-lethal browsing management”.  This project has now come to an end. The first phase of the project determined that the most effective treatments for reducing browsing damage were the chemical repellent (Sentree) and stockings (see article in Biobuzz 5).  Based on these results, the second phase of the project further tested these most promising treatments on six operational demonstration trials (see article in Biobuzz 6). This work found that the combination of both stockings and repellent was the most effective, and resulted in a significant delay in browsing and a reduction in severity compared with control seedlings. These results have important and immediate implications for tree growers.  Stockings and/or repellent can be applied to seedlings in the nursery, prior to planting out, to significantly delay the onset of browsing and reduce its severity.  In areas with low browsing intensity, this could be enough in itself; in other areas the browsing delay could be enough to allow alternative controls to be implemented. The long-term effects of stockings on seedling growth and form is an area needing further investigation.
Biobuzz issue eight, March 2009