Skip to the content

Getting started

It's great to see so much interest in planting natives by New Zealanders! We receive a large numbers of enquiries, many of them specific questions about what to plant and where. Unfortunately we don't have the resources to handle these on an individual basis but can provide you with some excellent sources of information that should answer most, if not all, of your questions! Answering the following questions will help you focus on what you need to know, then check out our resources and guides to regional and national plantings.

Have you got a plan?

Good planning, whether you are planting one or two trees or thousands, will not only ensure you consider all aspects of the project, but will help identify any potential problems early on and what advice is needed.

Where should I plant?

Backyard, stream edge, old field, consider the constraints of the site. How big will the tree I plan to plant in my backyard get? How much site preparation is needed, what problem weeds need to be controlled? Who else might be involved in the project, and what is the scale of maintenance that will be required.

What should I plant?

We recommend species that would have grown naturally in the area. The advice of your nursery can be very helpful, they can advise on species that will do well on the site and may be able to provide plants from local seed sources (eco-sourcing). If you are planting for a specific purpose, such as to attract birds, amenity etc. tree species will be important.

How should I plant?

What should be the spacing between plants? Close planting, 1 to 2m between trees, gives rapid canopy closure which excludes weeds. Large plantings may involve nurse crops such as manuka to provide shelter for future canopy trees. Consider if fertiliser is needed. Deep well cultivated soil ensures best establishment and growth.

Where can I get further advice?

Your local nursery can be a wonderful source of advice on appropriate species, when and how to plant, fertiliser, preparation etc. There are also many resources on the web, your local council, regional council, Department of Conservation. We have listed some information sources below. These include not only national guidelines but also regional-based information including local council websites and nurseries specialising in raising native plants that can often provide specific advice.

Good luck with your planting!

It is great that you are putting lots of thought into doing this properly.  It is a big undertaking and putting the time into planning will increase your success rate and ultimately save you time (and money) in the long run.