Basics for planting

By Danae Warden

Tried and tested techniques for planting and weeding are topics that are often discussed as volunteers work in their patches of bushland. Most of our readers would be well seasoned landcarers who have lots of great tips that they have learnt through years of planting and weeding. Those who are new to these activities may take a while to learn some basic techniques.

Here are a few tips that I have picked up on the way.


  • The potted seedlings should sit in water for a day or so before planting to loosen up the soil and encourage the roots to loosen.
  • How deep to dig? If groups can get their hands on an auger it has been shown that the success rates of seedlings increase if the hole has been dug by an auger. Augers (even small ones) dig deeper and wider which softens and loosens the soil allowing the seedling roots to more easily penetrate the soil.
  • It is important to not leave an air pocket between the bottom of the hole and the root system as this may prevent the roots from obtaining water and nutrients and the plant will die.
  • Though in saying this it has been noted that if this ‘airhole’ is in a damp area and the hole is filled with water this can serve the seedling well. It really depends on your location and site conditions.
  • It is important to leave a well around the base of the plant so when it is watered or it rains the plant is provided with sufficient water
  • Obvious factors to consider when planting are choosing appropriate native species for an area i.e. plant riparian species near waterways, choose species adapted to steep slopes in a hilly area, check out soil types for plant suitability. A great way to find out which plants are appropriate is by looking at the native species already residing in your site and compliment or add to them.
  • Tree guards: to use or not to use?? Tree guards are effective in deterring rabbits. They are also great to ‘show-off’ an area of work being done for project photos etc. However, they can sometimes act as a beacon for kangaroos who see the green bags and know that there is a tasty treat inside. Sadly, they can also attract vandals.


I hope these quick tips help you and don’t forget to enjoy the fresh air and exercise and good banter!

Photo: EMRC