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Hamilton treeplanter

Hamilton treeplanter

Max Chamberlain's well-used Hamilton treeplanter
Max Chamberlain's well-used Hamilton treeplanter. Photo: George Main.

Max Chamberlain has used this Hamilton treeplanter to plant many thousands of tree and shrub seedlings on his farm Narua, north of Wagga. In the late 1980s rising salty watertables began to damage low-lying paddocks on Narua and neighbouring farms. Local farmers began replanting deep-rooted, perennial native plants to lower watertables and protect crops and pastures from salinisation.

Max harvested seed from kurrajongs, yellow box, red gums, drooping she-oaks and other species growing locally. He propagated the seed in trays, and transferred the rising seedlings into tapered plastic pots.

Like a garden spade, the steps on the treeplanter allow an operator to push the tool into soil. When removed from the soil, the device leaves a planting hole proportioned to fit the intertwined mass of seedling roots and soil formed by specially shaped pots. Repeated pushing through soil has polished the stainless steel head of the Hamilton treeplanter. The heavy dents along both steps record days of planting across hard, dry slopes and hilltops, where trees and shrubs are needed to prevent the recharge of watertables below.

Related Pass the Salt stories: Max Chamberlain | Narua