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Browsing native animals such as kangaroos, wallabies, possums and introduced browsing animals like hares and rabbits will not feed on either of the two Leptospermum species discussed here once they are reasonably established, even in periods of extreme drought and shortages of their normal feed.
These animals with their territorial instincts may usually have a nibble of newly transplanted seedlings out of curiosity at seeing something new in their immediate environment. But after that the astringency of the oil in the foliage along with the prickly foliage (particularly in the case of L. scoparium) deters them from any further browsing in the medium to long term
Having said that, if the browsing pressure is intense then some exclusion, control or protection measures will be required immediately after planting out and kept in place for a period of time to allow the plants to develop somewhat. This may be for months rather than years.
If the browsing pressure is unacceptably high then using a deterrent should be considered. One such deterrent is a product is called ‘Sen-Tree’developed in Victoria for the protection of newly planted trees and shrubs.
This is a two part application applied to planting stock prior to planting. It is is an egg-based adhesive compound, added to an adhesive polymer. This is then sprayed onto the foliage of the plant. Once semi-dry (tacky) sprinkled the Silicone Carbide grit is shaken onto the foliage. The combination of odour and grit have a recurring deterrent affect through learned association. It seems that the treatment will last long enough for the browsing animals to lose interest before new unprotected growth emerges.
I have used this product on three properties in the last year and found it to be highly effective. ERA Nurseries routinely applies this treatment to tube stock destined for high browsing risk properties prior to dispatch.
Flocks of native birds such as Corellas may also do some damage also out of curiosity. In these cases they tend to bite the stem off above the ground and no doubt will lose interest in doing it again. This almost always happens soon after planting and diminishes soon after.
Should this happen the plants will usually produce new shoots below the point where the stem was damaged.
If this becomes an issue then there is a range of bird scaring devices available that will do the job.
Ever wondered what happens when your not around? Check out this short video !