Published on 22 July 2022
We asked our legendary bushcare coordinator, Rudi Adlmayer, for his top five tips for planting and looking after a healthy tree. Rudi would know: he’s planted thousands.
The most important thing is to select the right tree. If you want to attract magpies and parrots, banksias are great. If you want shade, think about something else. Go for small seedlings in tubestock rather than bigger ones in pots, they’ll grow twice as fast.
You could ask for advice at a native nursery like Randwick Community Nursery or Sutherland Community Nursery, or try asking Google.
Site selection is key. What kind of soil do you have? Is it sandy or clay, or something else? How much wind and sun does the spot get?
Have a look around at the trees and plants that are growing nearby to see if your plant will suit the space.
Dig a hole the width of the plant and a bit deeper than the pot. Planting a tiny bit below the surrounding ground is good because the water won’t run off. I always say a depressed plant is a happy plant.
Next, get the plant out of the pot. You’d be surprised how many people skip that step. It’s OK to cut or break the roots if they’re hanging on at the bottom.
If it’s dry you can add 100ml of water at the bottom of the hole, then just put it in, put the soil back and press down around the roots with your hands.
Cover with mulch and follow up with weekly watering for the next four months. Unless you get good rain, in which case you can probably skip it. That’s about all the care a native tree needs: they’re a lot lower maintenance than having an ornamental garden or growing veggies.
Watch out for weeds and lawns. They will overgrow your seedlings if you don’t clear them from the surrounding area. When we’re planting trees for Council we usually clear the area beforehand and cover it in mulch, which stops the weeds coming back.
That’s about it. Go forth and plant… then maintain!
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