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How to plant smarter by planning your planting

Published: 31 July 2020

Winter is the time to get planting new trees and shrubs around your backyard.

There are a few helpful things to remember when you are planning what to plant in your back yard, starting with why winter is the best time to plant new trees and shrubs.  

As Rebecca Stanley, Curator at Auckland Botanic Gardens explains, “Tree roots need time to become established and settle before summer and the dry weather comes.”

The rain in the winter months softens the soil and that allows the roots to grow deep into the ground with relative ease.

The ongoing water shortage this year is a good reminder of how important it is to ensure the trees have the time to prepare for those dry conditions by getting their root systems deep in the soil.

“Established trees also reduce the need for regular watering. This means we are conserving water which is something we are likely to do more often as we feel the effects of climate change,” said Rebecca.

But Rebecca adds that planning is more than that. At the Auckland Botanic Gardens, the philosophy is to pick the right plant for the right place. This means you need to consider:

  • where your home is, which includes considering the soil around your section
  • where on your section the tree or plant will be planted, including how much light and wind will impact on the plant
  • how the tree will grow over time.

“Planting a garden and incorporating trees is not just about here and now. As the tree grows, we have to think about the impact on homes or other buildings.”

“That tree may look nice today when it is small, but in 5 or 10-years’ time will that tree be affecting guttering, fences or your next-door neighbours?”

It is about ensuring that multiple generations can enjoy the trees you plant today.

Rebecca acknowledges that it can feel daunting but the experts at Auckland Botanic Gardens are always happy to help.

“Don’t be shy about asking experts. That is why those of us in the industry do what we do. We want to help people make the best decisions for their homes that can be enjoyed for years to come.”

For more tips on planting, listen to Rebecca’s advice to Radio New Zealand’s Jesse Mulligan or head out to visit the experts at the Botanic Gardens.

Read more: Environment

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