Preparation and Planting
1. How you prepare a site for planting depends on the conditions of the site. When planting into areas of natural grass or woodlands etc., minimal impact on existing vegetation is generally the best approach. In such areas spot spray or scalp the soil to remove any vegetation within 30cm of the proposed plant. Be sure to save the natural plant communities (vegetation) and ensure there is no loss of soil from the site (erosion). Where country is cleared, pasture improved or degraded, you will need to control exotic grasses and weeds by cultivating or spraying. If soil is compacted it is useful to rip the soil to a depth of 30 – 50cm. For best results, enact weed eradication at least 1 month before planting.
3. Plant healthy, quality grown trees when climatic conditions are favourable. Planting is best undertaken when soils are moist and warm. This will vary from region to region and depends on climate and seasonal rainfall. In cold areas, it is best to plant in spring, summer and early autumn when there is minimal frost and optimum growing condition. In areas that receive less than 600mm of rainfall per annum, planting in autumn/winter is preferable.
4. Dig a hole 2 – 3 times the size of the rootball of the plant to be planted. When deep ripping has not been included in your soil preparations ensure the side of your hole are not glazed and either fork or bar the sides of the holes to loosen surrounding soil when required.
5. Plant with care to give your plants the best start. Always ensure seedlings are moist before planting. Place watersave crystals and slow release fertiliser in the bottom of hole ensuring fertiliser does not contact rootball. Remove from container and place the plant carefully into your prepared hole as per planting detail. Backfill with friable topsoil and water deeply to encourage ʻdeep rootsʼ, rather than ʻsurface rootsʼ.
Maintaining your newly planted trees and shrubs
1. Protect plants from stock, rabbits and other pests using guards or fencing. Wildlife (rabbits, hares, ducks etc) can cause severe damage and death to plants when newly planted. For best results we will guard with a polysleeve or coreflute tree guard. See diagram 1.
2. Weed around your young plants allowing them a one metre weed-free circle for the first six months to maximise survival rates and ideally for 18 months to ensure continued survival and enhanced growth rates. Undertaking this advice should achieve survival rates in excess of 90% and growth rates by 300% when compared to poorly maintained trees for example mowing and not eradication weeds for the one meter radius. Mulching or laying of weed mats is beneficial, but a costly exercise on large scale planting projects. Mulching reduces maintenance and labour costs and generally improves plant growth. Herbicide spraying to control weeds can be more budget friendly compared to mulching. If spraying around your trees with a herbicide we strongly recommend the use of tree guards as used to protect from rabbits etc. from above.
3. Water if the plants are showing signs of stress during the first few weeks after planting. Ensure waterings are sufficient to moisten down to the subsoil ie. deep waterings.
4. Fertilise with a suitable native slow release fertiliser after 12 months (assuming you have fertilised on planting).