Summer shade trees for stockSummer Shade Trees for Stock

Today I want to talk about PROVIDING SUMMER SHADE FOR STOCK  over these hot summer months. I think its appalling that farmers are allowed to put their cows, sheep, goats etc into paddocks with no shade  trees , especially when  the outside temperature is around 26-30 degrees.

Imagine you are an  Angus or a Friesan cow, where your coat is black, and how hot you would feel in the full  midday sun, and no way to get out of it. When driving around the Waikato  countryside  at the moment, its a common sight to see 300 cows all trying to stand under one single tree  and in many cases there are no trees at all. The fact that they all try and get under the one tree, shows that they are hot and a lucky few will feel better  for being  in the shade. I am not a farmer, but its not hard to see that a happy cow, is a more productive cow.

What we should do is get 300  farmers, all in black raincoats and put them in an open paddock in the middle of summer for a full day, and see what they look like at the end of the afternoon - I am sure it would not be a very healthy happy sight!!!

This coming winter, each farmer should  make it a personal goal, and plant a few deciduous trees around their paddocks. Deciduous trees are not very expensive in winter, if you get them bare root from out of the fields before the nurseries bag them up.

Select shade trees that are:

  • fast growing
  • can handle the wind, because alot of paddocks are very open to the elements
  • trees which have a good wide spreading canopy
  • varieties that are palatable to stoc
  • select trees with a nice clean main trunk, so that you can keep trimming up the lower branches.

Ten good shade tree options are;

  • SALIX PENDULA AUREA - golden weeping willow - quick growing, performs well where there is moisture
  • POPULUS YUNNANENSIS - chinese poplar - fast growing, extremely tough to the elements, 
  • QUERCUS PALUSTRIS - pin oak - beautiful autumn foliage colour, gets better and better with age, good wide spread
  • PLATANUS ACERIFOLIA - London plane - big and fast growing, provides magnificent spread, extremely hardy
  • ACER RUBRUM RED SUNSET - makes a spectacular specimen tree, and one of the showiest in Autumn
  • ACER FREEMANII - fast growing, magnificent Autumn colour, makes a fine specimen tree
  • LIQUIDAMBER STYRACAFLUA BURGANDY- beautiful Sutumn colours, makes a lovely specimen, but best not in high wind areas
  • QUERCUS ROBUR - English oak -  the best oak for acorns, magnificent specimen  tree when aged
  • ULMUS LOUIS VAN HOUTTE - Golden Elm - brightest yellow foliage all summer, not as tall a other options, but good spread.
  • LIRIODENDRON TULIPIFERA - beautiful specimen tree, with fragrant orange/yellow flowers in Spring,

 
Fencing off from stock, can take more time than the planting, but  try planting them on a fence line, where you have access to electric fencing which you can tap into. Also on the fence line allows the shade of the tree to work in both paddocks.

Try and plant  20 trees every winter, and in 10 years you will have 200 lovely specimens around your farm, imagine  how much better your farm will aesthetically look, and  importantly how much better your  stock will feel, especially if these very hot Summers are going to be the norm. To get maximum growth results from your trees ,  for the first two years, keep the grass sprayed around the base of each tree, say a 1.0m diameter circle( this is important because you will get 50 %  more growth if you keep the weeds and grass away, and if you can put your calf shavings as a  good thick mulch in this circle, the results will be even significantly better  Also get the trees planted in June/July, well before spring, because even though the top isn't growing, the roots will get growing straight away, and then the tree will have a better root system, for when it does come alive in Spring. 

Happy Tree Planting

regards

Graeme

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Graeme Burton - Landscaper - Rukuhia Homestead, RD2, Ohaupo 3882
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