Putting a plant in the ground is only one small step on the journey towards restoration success.

There is a lot of work involved in a planting project, beyond digging a hole and putting the plant in the ground. 


CCC nursery. Most of the plants we use are grown in our Council nursery, or are from other eco-source suppliers, such as Trees for Canterbury. For restoration projects, it is important that our plants are eco-sourced – that means they come from the same ecological area.

There can be an amazing amount of variety between the same species of plant growing in different areas; in form, size, and leaf shape. By growing plants specific to different ecological areas we protect this diversity. The plants are also more likely to survive as they are specifically adapted to the conditions at this site.

Eco-sourcing ensures genetic purity by growing plants from seeds or cuttings collected from their original habitat or source. Planting the right native species will provide the right habitat for native wildlife and a seed source for natural regeneration. 



  • Some sites may be mowed or sprayed to remove invasive weeds or grass.
  • Bench a flat site the size of the weed mat. 
  • Dig a hole a third larger than the pot. 
  • Break up clods to make soil loose and crumbly.
  • Remove the soil to the side of the hole.


  • Squeeze the pot to loosen the root ball and carefully remove plant, keeping the soil. 
  • Hold the plant upright and fill in around plant with loose soil, press firmly around the root ball as you go.
  • Level out the soil around the plant making sure all roots are covered and there is a shallow basin around the plant for collecting rainwater. 
  • Make sure the plant is standing straight and firmed in.


  • Slot the weed mat around the stem of the plant. 
  • A grass mulch may be placed on top of the weed mat at some planting sites)
  • Cage the plant with the plant guards and canes if provided; these protect from animal browse and/or spray maintenance.

Maintenance is key

Maintenance is essential for the survival of restoration plantings, especially in grasslands. Each of the steps below help to open the plant to light, suppress weed competition, maintain moisture around the root ball, and to re-cage the plant if needed.

This process needs to happen twice a year, for three to five years, until the crown of the tree is above the grass level.

  • Hand weed around the stem of the plant.
  • Cut surrounding grass low to the ground in a 30cm radius around the plant. 
  • Gather cut grass and mulch a thick layer around the plant to cover the entire weed mat area.
  • Check the cage or plant guard is firmly replaced around the plant.
Plant before release.

Before release

Plant after release.

After release

More information

Check out upcoming volunteer events or email parks.volunteers@ccc.govt.nz