Volunteers planting trees

Image: Sustainable Coastlines | ©

Introduction

Be a part of the movement to restore our flora.

Highlights

New Zealand is lucky enough to have very unique plants. 80% of our trees, ferns and flowering plants are endemic, which means that they’re found only in New Zealand.

It’s important for us to plant native trees as they support all sorts of wildlife and are vital to a healthy ecosystem. To give nature a helping hand, why not plant a native - or two!

Did you know?
  • 80% of New Zealand was covered in forest before people arrived – now it's only about 15%.
  • Some of our plants display heteroblasty – they look so different young compared to their adult form that people thought they were different species.
  • Rongoā (traditional Māori medicine) uses many native plants to treat medical conditions.

What you will need

  • A native plant of your choice
  • Lawnmower or garden shears
  • Spade
  • Manure or compost
  • Water
  • Mulch

Step one – plan

What plant do you choose?

Head down to your local plant nursery to select a young native. There are a heap of different trees, shrubs and climbers to choose from that look attractive and support wildlife.

See a list of some of our native plants for inspiration.

Choose an area of your garden where it can grow to its full height when it matures, keeping in mind that plants grow in all shapes and sizes.

Step two – prepare

Now you’ve selected a plant, you want to make sure it’s happy!

Here’s how to prepare your site:

  • Cut or mow the area if it has grass.
  • If there is turf in this spot, cut 1.5 spade widths wide in a square and lift it out. You can use this for composting, or place them grass side down around the base of the tree when planted.
  • Give the soil a rustle with a spade or a garden fork to get air into it.
  • Add compost or manure to the disturbed soil.

Step three – plant

Late winter to spring is the perfect time to start planting. Make sure to keep the plants cool and moist until you’re ready to go.

  • Dig a hole wide and deep enough for the plants roots to spread out and pour in some water.
  • Gently remove your plant from their bag by inverting the plant, holding the base and soil with the palm of one hand and lightly pulling the polythene bag by the fold on the base.
  • Pop the plant directly into the hole, making sure the top line of soil around the plant meets the top of the hole.
  • Cover the roots and remaining space in the whole, firming down softly layer by layer.
  • Leave the surface with a loose texture (no need to pat it down tightly) and water thoroughly.

Step four – protect

Now you’ve put in the work, it’s time to make sure it lasts.

New Zealand’s native trees and shrubs tend to grow naturally with a deep layer of decaying leaf litter around them, this provides moisture, protects the roots and stops weeds from growing.

You can create your own protection layer by spreading out old newspapers, cardboard or old wool carpet and cover with wet straw, untreated bark chips or compost to 90–120 mm depth. Try to give the plant stems a bit of space to avoid rot.

Tino pai

Thanks for contributing to the reforestation of New Zealand’s native flora. Plants do our environment a world of good, where they act as shelter and food sources for our wildlife, keep our waterways clean and offset global carbon emissions.

Become a Kiwi Guardian!

Planting a native tree earns you a medal as part of our Toyota Kiwi Guardians activity programme.

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