The race to the sky is on and any tree with an advantage over its neighbours is branching out wider as the upper forest canopy is forming. The wattles, having won the early race by growing fast and wide are now struggling to keep up. Many of these wattles will blow over and maybe even fall on a competitor – allowing its seed an even larger space.
At ground level it is becoming increasingly harder for the introduced grasses and weeds to hold a spot as the sunlight is blocked by the upper canopy. Some smaller natives have successfully established themselves and there are random pockets of dianella, tussock grass and various sedges. We will soon look at small mosaic burns before beginning to plant the understory.
Native animals have begun to return and a system of sorts is emerging. A couple of wombats have moved into old fox dens including one which we drove out of the vineyard after it repeatedly attempted to tunnel a burrow across the middle of our new Gruner Veltliner block. We have also seen a small number (they’re hard to count!) of swamp wallabys that shyly amble around. The swamp wallabys are great because they are small animals and can’t reach the grapes, but the return of kangaroos will present a more serious conundrum which I’m sure we will face at some point.