Research and Planning
We bought this 3-hectare property in 1993 and in 1996 we began our first trial plantings with seed sourced from an Australian plantation.
The research we had done indicated that our area was similar to the natural locations of Melaleuca in NSW, Australia, being frost free with a high rainfall and moisture retentive soil.
The natural vigour of the plants was attractive as it meant we could use simple, environmentally friendly and sustainable methods of cultivating and harvesting.
Planting of Tea Trees
We planted out about 2000 plants initially, by hand, and maintained the weed levels by mulching and grazing with lambs and young cattle. We found the lambs easier on the small plants. The calves tended to play hide and seek between the rows and always caused some damage.
We tried grazing geese but they decided they liked to ring bark the soft thick trunks of the Tea Tree.
It is important to reduce the possibility of weed contamination at harvest time so we make sure the areas are grazed well before harvesting. Our hens free range all year through the Tea Tree. They scratch around in the mulch and make dust baths under the trees.