What you need to know this spring.
If you’re anything like us these recent weekends will have been spent in the backyard tidying up and planting now that spring is here. Sometimes however it’s difficult knowing what’s right to plant, and how best to go about it. Here’s our short guide to getting the most from your garden.
More and more New Zealanders are recognising how important it is to plant trees – particularly natives – to ensure our precious environment can be sustained for the future. The warmer weather and longer days provides the perfect opportunity to roll up the sleeves and get stuck in.
1: Look about
It helps if you have a clear idea of what species will thrive in the your area. This is a good time to take a trip to the nearest reserve or patch of native bush to start your wish list. Even check with your neighbour as to what has grown well in their garden – they might even provide you with seeds or cuttings.
2: Think forward
The last thing you’ll want to do is pull out or chop down all of your hard work when views or the sun are too impeded in the future. Now is the time to properly plan what everything will look like in five and ten years time, taking into account things like drainage, power lines and neighbours.
3: Plant for your pals
Tūi enjoy the flowers of harakeke (NZ flax), kōtukutuku (tree fuchsia) attracts tūi, bellbird and silvereye and the iconic kōwhai tree is loved by tūi and bellbird for its sweet nectar. So too does coprosma and the makomako (wineberry) shrub attract a range of native birds, while the hebe provides a perfect haven for the insects that then bring bellbirds, fantails and silvereyes. For more on native species, check out our article here.
4: Tuck in and bed down
First, avoid planting on overly sunny or windy days, as moisture quickly can dry out. Then dig a hole wide enough for the roots to spread out, have it wet (but not saturated) and add in some good healthy manure or compost. If you’re unsure what depth to plant have a look at the bag soil line on the stem and then match that. Cover the roots, making sure the plant is firmly supported by the soil, then leave the surface with a loose texture and water a decent amount.
5: Cover up
As our native shrubs and trees are used to growing with rotting leaves and other forest debris around them it helps if your backyard provides a similar environment. Use wet newspapers or straw or untreated bark chips to keep the moisture close to the soil and old carpet to protect the roots and contain weeds. Be sure to continue maintaining the area around the new seedling, as weeds will fight for water and nutrients from the surrounding soil. Then, pretty soon, your garden will grow to attract all kinds of feathered friends. Won’t that be something to look forward to?