Posted on 29th February, 2016
The best time for planting is from May through to September. This is the time when the soil is moist; the days are cooler yet too short for the ground to dry out. In areas where frost is a consideration and where very small seedlings are being used, later planting would be better. Wet areas and areas which are irrigated can be planted in summer providing the soil is kept moist.
Fencing is essential to prevent plants from being eaten by stock. There are very few native plants that stock will not eat and if they don't eat them they will damage them instead. Plant far enough away from fences as cattle and horses can reach 2 – 3 meters over a fence to eat small trees. Rabbits and possums can also do a lot of damage to young plants. Pest control should be carried out before planting. To ensure your plants get the best possible start, areas should be free of all weeds and grass. Kikuyu particularly aggressive will slow down the growth of new plants and if not controlled will eventually kill. If possible spray out areas to be planted and repeat a month later before planting.
Remember to plant only as much as you can maintain with the time and resources available. Place out all the plants evenly on the prepared area before planting. Be conscious of protecting the roots from drying out in the sun, leave plants in their containers until you plant them in to the ground. When digging remember you are not really digging a hole but breaking up and loosening the soil. Turn over an area of soil about twice the size of the planter bag or container the plant is in. If possible use compost mixed into the planting area. Fertiliser is very important to give young plants a good start. We use slow release fertilizer tablets. Make sure the tablet is at least 20cm away from the roots. When planting make sure the roots are pointing down, you may also need to tease the roots out creating a good anchor for the plant. If you are planting very small plants which could be over taken by weeds and grass put in a small stake or bamboo cane to help locate the plants when undertaking weed control. To assist stability of larger grade plants in windy areas staking is necessary.
Newly planted areas will establish a lot faster if competition from weeds and pests is reduced in the first two to three years. Mulching the ground suppresses the weeds and helps retain moisture in the drier months but be careful not to have the mulch to close to the plant. Croft's post peels are ideal.