LANDSCAPE RESTORATION (REVEGETATION) Online Course
Revegetation is the process of replanting and rebuilding the soil of disturbed land. This may be a natural process produced by plant colonization and succession, or an artificial (manmade), accelerated process designed to repair damage to a landscape due to wildfire, mining, flood, or other cause.
Gain practical skills in manageing revegation of trees, propagation, planting and more.
The importance of trees to land management cannot be overstated. Often in the past they have been seen as competing for valuable land space and felled indiscriminately. Over clearing of trees can lead to salinity problems and numerous forms of erosion and land slips Retention and where necessary, selective replanting of trees is now widely practiced and shows major benefits toward improving farm viability and ultimately production.
Additional studies include enviromental assessment, wildlife conservation, botany I and II, earth science, plant ecology or one of the excellant Careerline courses from the areas of Horticulture and Agriculture
Attractive discounts apply for multiple course pathways (see our 'discounts and payment plan' page).
There are 10 lessons in this course:
- APPROACHES TO LAND REHABILITATION
- The importance of trees - Erosion control
- Understanding plants
- Understanding plant identification
- Land management programs
- Soil degradation
- Erosion - Water erosion, Wind erosion, Control of erosion
- Salinity - Sources of salt, Control methods for salinity
- Soil acidification and other problems - Soil acidification, Compaction, Chemical residues
- ECOLOGY OF SOILS AND PLANT HEALTH
- The Ecosystem - Abiotic components, Biotic components, Ecological concepts, The web of life, Other relationships between plants and animals
- Indigenous species
- Creating habitat corridors for wildlife – benefits, Other benefits, Situating corridors, Types of corridors
- Design considerations
- Edge effects
- What can happen at edges
- In general
- Soils - How soils develop naturally, The soil environment, Soil composition, Soil temperature
- Soil physical characteristics - Soil profile, Soil texture, Soil structure
- Soil chemical characteristics - Soil pH, Cation exchange capacity, Buffering capacity
- Improving soils
- Plant nutrition - What nutrients do plants need
- The nutrient elements - The macronutrients, The micronutrients
- Choosing the right fertilizer - How much fertilizer to apply
- Diagnosis of nutritional problems
- Pests and diseases and plant growth - Environmental factors
- Resistant plant species and cultivars
- Pests and Diseases - Biological control, Diseases include, Pests include, Life cycles, Preventative control
- INTRODUCTION TO SEED PROPAGATION TECHNIQUES
- Seed propagation - Seed sources – 4 sources, Maintaining genetic identity in seed, Hybrid seed production
- Why do plants produce so much seed
- Collecting and harvesting seed – guidelines
- Selecting plants to collect from
- Methods of collection
- Cleaning seed
- Storing seed
- Difficult seeds - Germination treatments, Soaking in boiling water
- Leaching seeds
- Sowing your seeds - When to sow, Propagation media
- Containers for propagation
- The bog method
- Pricking out or tubing seedlings - After care
- Quality control – The UC System of Soil Mixes
- Example of a production system
- Propagation stage
- Transplanting stage
- Growing on stage
- Distribution stage
- Sources of seed and information
- Books on seeds and seed germination
- PROPAGATION AND NURSERY STOCK
- Asexual propagation - Why cuttings? How to propagate a cutting, Classification of cutting types, Maintaining genetic identity in seed
- Types of Cuttings - Softwood cuttings, Semi-Hardwood Cuttings, Hardwood cuttings, Variations on cuttings, Nodal cuttings, Basal cuttings, Root cuttings
- Stock Plants - Planting out stock plants, Treatment throughout the year, Stock plants for root cuttings
- Ways of getting roots on difficult to root cuttings - Hormone treatments, Etoliation and banding, Cutting grafts, Misting/fogging, Light treatments, Bacterial treatments, Combining treatments
- Hormone Treatments in detail
- Nursery hygiene
- Spread of pests and diseases
- Recommended nursery hygiene practices
- Propagating Mixes - Vermiculite, Perlite, Sand, Rockwool, Peat moss
- Potting Media - Potting Soil Mixes, Pine Bark, Containers for potting up plants
- How to maintain plants in pots - Feeding, Watering, Ventilation and light, Temperature, Growing-on areas for container plants, Stop roots growing into the soil, Hardening off rooted cuttings
- The greenhouse - Types of greenhouses, Heated or unheated, Deciding on what you need, Problems with greenhouses, Environmental controls in the greenhouse, Temperature control
- Greenhouse irrigation methods, Runoff and leachate, Irrigation systems, Other structures for growing plants, The nursery site, How to propagate different species
- DEALING WITH CHEMICAL PROBLEMS
- Soil contamination
- Symptoms on plants of chemical contamination
- Foliage burn
- Treating foliage burn
- Rehabilitating damaged soils
- Accidental spillage
- Rehabilitation methods
- Using plants to extract contaminants
- Growing plants on contaminated soil
- Rehabilitating a building site
- Soil chemical composition and plant growth
- Alkaline soils
- Lime contaminated soils
- Trees which grow in lime soils
- PHYSICAL PLANT EFFECTS ON DEGRADED SITES
- Pioneer plants
- Site protection - Windbreaks/shelterbelts, Windbreak design, Other considerations
- Designing and planting a firebreak - Fire prone areas, How to arrange plants, Distances from buildings, Consider prevailing winds, Consider vehicular access, Maintenance, Fire resistant plants, Plants likely to burn
- Stormwater, waterlogging and drainage - Stormwater
- Drainage - Water-logging on a home-site, Constructing a swamp
- Soil Compaction
- PLANT ESTABLISHMENT PROGRAMS
- What to plant where
- Climate - Temperature, Wind, Frosts, Extreme hazards, Microclimates
- Plant selection criteria, Economics, Ongoing costs, Longevity, General hardiness
- Planting - When to plant
- Plant protection methods - Supporting trees, Staking, Frost protection for young trees, Sun protection, Mulching, Fencing, Wind protection
- HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS
- Rehabilitation techniques
- Coping with dry conditions - Overcoming dry soils
- Mulch - How to lay mulch, Mulch materials, Commonly used organic mulches, Living mulch and cover crops
- Weed management - Types of weeds, How are weeds spread? Preventative measures, Weed control, Methods, Commonly used herbicides
- Trees and large shrubs that tolerate salt
- Plant species that tolerate salt
- PLANT ESTABLISHMENT CARE
- Planting procedures - Evergreens, Deciduous and bare-rooted plants
- Water and plant growth
- Maintaining appropriate water levels
- Symptoms of water deficiency
- Symptoms of excess water
- Period of watering
- Minimizing plant water requirements
- Plant health – Conducting an inspection
- The Plant - Examining leaves, Examining fruit and flowers, Examining stem and branches, Examining roots, Identifying damage
- The Immediate Environment - Examining the soil, Examining surrounding plants, Other environmental factors, Methods of inspection
- Prioritizing problems
- REHABILITATING DEGRADED SITES
- Environmental Assessment - Conducting an Environmental Audit
- Implementing a Land Rehabilitation Management Program - determining land objectives, determining a program and replanting.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
- Develop the ability to write the scientific names of plants and to identify and compare different types of land degradation and rehabilitation alternatives.
- Outline the basics of ecology concepts and how soils, flora and fauna interact and affect one another.
- Develop basic seed propagation skills and knowledge.
- Describe further propagation and nursery techniques.
- Describe the effect of plants on improving chemical characteristics of a degraded site.
- Determine the physical effect plants have on improving a degraded site.
- Determine appropriate plant establishment programs.
- Determine procedures to care for plants, during establishment in a hostile environment.
- Determine techniques to maximise plant development in land rehabilitation situations.
- Determine the management procedures and rehabilitation requirements of degraded soil.
PLANT PROTECTION METHODS
Plants are staked for the following reasons:
- To support weakness in plant tissue until it strengthens (ie. if wood is soft and liable to break, the stake supports it till it gains strength).
- To reduce likelihood of damage through movement ‑ wind may break the plant at the base.
- To reduce likelihood of physical damage through vandalism, mowing, cultivation, animals etc.
- To support transplants (where the root system was cut back), until the roots can re-grow and establish a firm hold in new ground.
- To mark the location of small plants so they are not inadvertently damaged by mowing, cultivation etc.
HINT: If stakes are removed by vandals - try smearing grease on the stakes to deter them.
The main dangers with staking are:
- Leaving ties on a plant too long - the stem grows, and the tie cuts into the bark ring-barking the plant.
- Tying too tightly to the stake - if the plant does not move in the wind, the root system/trunk may not develop adequate strength to support the plant when the stake is removed. Always tie with a loose loop or figure eight.
- Only stake if absolutely necessary – staking comes with its own set of problems i.e. damage from rubbing or girdling by stakes, stress at the point of attachment to the trunk which may cause the trunk to break, inappropriate growth patterns ie. bending away from the stake, cause wind resistance if the crown can’t move which may cause breakage once the stake is removed, die back of trunk or branches, develop less trunk taper, increase the height but with less trunk thickness).
- Trees under a certain height and diameter don’t need staking ie. less then 2 meters tall and 2.5cm diameter. Large trees my need up to three stakes.
- Trees only need staking when they root system cannot support the tree in an upright position. The ability of the tree to do this will depend on the site, soil texture and moisture and exposure to wind. Plant the tree and check for movement before staking. Holes created at the base of the trunk above the root system indicates that staking is required, or if the tree starts to lean.
- Stakes should only remain in place for just long enough to enable the tree to develop a strong root hold into the soil and supports itself.
- Don’t stake too high – stake should be 1/3rd of the length of the tree .
- Don’t tie too tightly
- Use flexible material as ties and allow movement down the trunk to assist in correct taper development
Frost Protection for Young Trees
Frost burn generally appears as dead areas of foliage, and stems. Affected parts turn black, and they may go watery. Symptoms begin to show within hours of the frost occurring. Areas on the outside of the plant are most affected. Leaves closer to a wall or other plants are less affected. It can affect leaves, growth tips, fruit, flowers and buds. Frost damage to fruit buds or flowers can cause a great reduction of fruit from crop trees. Don’t confuse frost burn with the affect of contaminated soil.
Frost protection can be achieved the following ways:
- Plant near a wall, fence (temporary such as a Hessian bag fixed over stakes) or permanent. The wall should be close to the base of the plant, and high enough to overshadow the plant ie. a wall or fence must be twice the height of the plant and located within a distance of half the plant's height - or 4 times the height of the plant and located no more than a distance away which is equal to the height of the plant)
- Covering: shade cloth, greenhouse film etc erected over plants during frost prone periods.
Shade cloth is the best way of protecting plants from severe affects of sunburn. If planted at the correct time and if you are using indigenous species then this is usually not a problem. If a plant is exposed and continually burning, then you obviously selected the wrong species for that environment, it is then probably best removed. The development of tree cover over time will aid in the establishment of smaller plants. Fast growing (and often short-lived) species are often suitable for this, eg. some species of Acacia.
Evaporation can be a problem for the fast establishment of many species which is worsened in windy areas. Mulch the ground around the base of a newly planted tree and maintain the mulch layer for as long as possible to conserve moisture, nutrients, will be added to the soil as the mulch breaks down, and weed growth will be suppressed. Materials suitable for use as mulch are numerous, which you choose will depend on local availability and price. Agricultural waste is ideal. Things such as bagasse/sugar cane mulch, peanut husks, hoop pine or other bark, wood chips, hay/straw, spent mushroom compost, forestry trimmings, etc. are typical examples of the type of material that could be suitable. Weed mats, wool mats, fibre matting, etc. can also be used they are effective but usually expensive. Mulch is discussed in more detail in the following lesson.
Damage to young plants from either farm animals or wild animals can be a big problem in replanted areas. Adequate fencing to keep out grazing stock such as horses, cattle, sheep, goats, etc. is vital. It is harder to keep out wild animals, but good fencing can assist.
Cages (wire or plastic) are available for individual plants are useful to keep animals away from young plants and also provide some frost and sunburn protection, but in the long term must be removed.
Strong wind causes foliage to dry out faster than water can be taken up from the roots. This causes wilting, particularly with more susceptible newly‑planted plants.
- Damage will be worse on the more exposed side of the plant.
- Damage will be worse on growth tips and most tender foliage.
- Strong winds can also cause physical damage, causing branches to snap, or leaves to be blown off. This can reduce the vigour of the plant (less leaves to produce food), and open it up to attack from pests and diseases (eg. uneven/broken branch stubs, or split trunks).
- Plants can literally blow over, in extreme cases, out of the ground.
- Erect or plant a windbreak as discussed in earlier lessons
- Use tree guards until the plant becomes established
- Stake plants to stop them blowing over.
Don’t confuse wind burn with the effects of chemically contaminated soil!