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Revegetation Guide

Revegetation is the term used when planting New Zealand native plants to recreate a natural bush environment, where no bush existed before.


Reasons for revegetation

  • Conservation
  • Erosion control
  • Preservation of bush remnants
  • Encouraging native birds
  • Weed control on difficult sites
  • Preventing fertiliser run offs into streams

Site Selection

 Use naturally defined areas such as -

  • Gullies
  • Corners
  • Steep faces
  • Stream edges
  • Existing bush remnants

Choose the right plant species for the area

Pioneer nurse species are hardy species that should be planted first to establish a good canopy cover that restricts weed growth and promotes natural regeneration.

Identify the nurse species or colonising species for the area. Click here to find a list of the primary colonising plants used for revegetation in Auckland

To help with this, identify existing plant species growing in natural sites on similar slopes or habitats in close proximity.


Work out a weed and pest control plan

Weeds are a major treat when planting natives and may affect the scale and timing of the project.

Clear weeds such as gorse and blackberry.

Spot spray where plants are to go.

Mulch around each plant after planting to reduce weed competition.

Sometimes it is beneficial to over-plant primary colonising  plants to achieve rapid cover and to suppress the weeds.


Source plant stocks well in advance and determine costs and timetables for supply.

Detail the quanities and grade of plants required and when.

Autumn is the best time for revegetation planting, as this enables the plant to establish it's roots before the following summer.


Only use Ecosourced Plants

Ecosourcing is using native plants grown from locally grown seeds. Ecosourced plants help to preserve the ecological distinctiveness of an area, and ecosourced plants are better able to survive in the local conditions.


Plant Spacings

3-10 metres for large trees, e.g. puriri, pohutukawa, kahikatea

1-2 metres for small trees, e.g. mahoe, mapou and cabbage tree

1 metre for shrubs, e.g. karamu and manuka, and large tussock and flax

1 metre for groundcovers

0.5 metres for smaller growing tussocks, ground ferns, rushes and sedges