Problems to overcome when planting a riparian or restoration project

We tackle the problems faced when undertaking a riparian planting or restoration project and discuss how to put together everything we’ve learned in previous blog articles.

Having a weed free site before planting will save you money and time.

Start planning one to two years before you want to plant by clearing the area of weeds through mulching, chemical applications or burning, provides a blank canvas for your native plants.

Locking up land a year prior to planting can allow weeds that were once controlled by stock pressure to raise their heads so you can get proper control before planting.

Hot tip for weedy sites 

If you don’t have time to plan ahead and your site has blackberry or convolvulus, plant these areas with flax, cabbage trees, toe toe and native grasses, as the chemicals used to control these weeds don’t affect those species.

Planting using correct methods at the right time of year goes a long way to having a successful outcome.

Plant slightly later in the season on sites that get heavy frosts. Species like karamu, rewarewa, mahoe, and ake ake are frost tender when young.

As soon as the soil is moist enough, plant steep sidlings that dry out quickly, so plants can get established before the summer heats up.

Plant the correct species in the correct conditions to ensure it thrives rather than just survives. E.g. Kahikatea and carex are often incorrectly planted on dry banks when they thrive with moist roots all year round.

Hot tip for planting

We recommend planting with a spade rather than an auger and ensuring the plug (soil and roots) is planted 20 to 30 millimetres below the soil surface.

With correct planning, maintenance should be easier.

Release plants two to three times a year, usually in spring and autumn when the grass is actively growing, as weeds and grasses compete for light, nutrients, and water.

More time conducting maintenance gives your project a better chance of success. Suppressing weeds will ensure a strong healthy plant.


The final outcome

After three to five years, a successful planting project will have colonising species evenly spread throughout the whole area and shade created by the natives will have started to suppress grasses and weeds.

Canopy and understory species that like shade, such as rimu, kauri, five finger, and kawakawa can be added to increase diversity.

We hope we’ve given you some food for thought around the problems associated with a riparian or restoration planting project!

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