Planting technique

Once your site is well prepared you can begin planting. Generally, planting after the first heavy autumn rain is the best time for dry or exposed sites. For frost prone areas, spring may be a more appropriate time for planting. Try to avoid any planting during the summer period

Step 1: Prepare the planting hole

The planting hole should be approximately twice the width of the plant container and slightly deeper. Remember to dig the hole into the soil below the mulch – if you plant straight into the mulch your plant will dry out and die.

Step 2: Pre-soaking Give your plants a thorough pre-soaking in a bucket of water prior to planting. In dry soils, fill the hole with water and allow it to drain before planting.

Step 3: Prepare the plant Any particularly long or coiled roots protruding through the bottom of the pot can be pruned with sharp secateurs before removing the plant from the pot. Some root disturbance is tolerable but be careful not to damage living roots. When planting good quality tubestock,

it is not necessary to ‘tickle’, or tease out the plant’s roots.

Step 4: Remove the plant from the pot

This is best achieved by turning the pot upside down and striking the rim gently against a solid object.

Step 5: Place the plant into the hole

So that the plant is a little lower than the original soil level. Firmly replace the soil around the plant, breaking up any lumps as you go.

Step 6: Water the plant in well

Initially all plants need to be watered individually to settle soil around the root system. Plants may require a good deep soaking once a week when establishing, particularly during dry periods.

Maintainance

One of the great things about indigenous plants is that they require very little maintenance. With just a little work each year, your indigenous garden will continue to look healthy, neat and beautiful.

Pruning

  • Controlling and removing weeds in areas of your garden or property that contain indigenous vegetation reduces competition for water, light and nutrients, helping to enhance growth.
  • If active pets are a problem, add a tree guard. Remove once the plant has become established.

Watering

  • Monitor new plants during their first summer. If there has not been a good soaking rain by mid summer, they will benefit from weekly or fortnightly watering. Deep, occasional watering will help the plant establish deeper roots.
  • Topping-up mulch annually helps to increase water retention and over time, will increase the organic matter in your soils.

Mulching tips

  • Avoid hot, steaming mulch, as this indicates that it is still composting.
  • Check for and remove mulch-borne seedlings to prevent weed invasion.
  • In a garden setting, many indigenous plants will respond well to careful pruning, and many will provide better shows of flowers if heavily pruned.
  • Pruning is usually best carried out after the plant has finished flowering. If you are developing a hedge, begin pruning early in the plant’s life.
  • Fertilisers aren’t usually necessary when growing indigenous plants and may encourage weed growth. Too much fertiliser can also cause fast, soft plant growth, leaving plants more vulnerable to insect attack or harsh climatic conditions.
  • Too much phosphorus in particular, can kill many indigenous plants. The addition of compost or other organic matter is a much better option for promoting healthy growth.
  • If you do choose to fertilise, mix a small amount of slow-release, low phosphate fertiliser with the soil and backfill into the hole.

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