Waikato Regional Council has produced excellent guidelines that give detailed information on planting methods.
Clean streams:A Guide to Managing Waterways on Waikato Farms and Planting natives in the Waikato Region tells you when and how to plant, and how to maintain planted areas.
Controlling Weeds in Riparian Margins gives specific advice on weed control methods. These are available free on their website at
www.waikatoregion.govt.nz under Publications.
Fertiliser is recommended for trees and shrubs but is not usually needed for rushes, flaxes and sedges. Drop slow release pellets into the planting hole immediately prior to planting or ask your nursery to include a slow release fertiliser in the seedling potting mix. Fertiliser is not usually needed in wet soils or wetlands.
Stakes If planting areas relatively large, or will occur in and around areas of scrub, mark each plant with a stake at the time of planting so plants can be easily found for monitoring and maintenance. For greater visibility, dip the ends of the stakes in bright paint.
Monitoring and Maintenance The planted areas should be inspected at least twice a year in spring and autumn to assess plant health, the need for clearing grass and weeds from around plants (releasing), weed control, and damage from animal pests.
How to use this tool
There are a range of resources available, such as Waikato Regional Council’s Clean Streams Guide, that provide an introduction to managing riparian margins. If you want to understand the issues facing waterways on your property, reading these is a useful starting point. The Planting Tool builds on this information, by summarising the key issues, objectives and most common site conditions, and identifying the plants known to perform in those specific circumstances.
The first step is observation. What can you see? Look at your waterway and notice its features: water flow, water colour, existing plants, aquatic life, bank steepness, erosion, fences, and so on. Use the following descriptions to help you decide on the main issue you wish to deal with.
Fish Do you know if there are native fish in your waterway? If you don’t know and would like to find out, ask Waikato Regional Council’s Land Management Officers for help. If you would like to provide fish habitat, choose the more appropriate of the two fish habitat options, either iinanga (whitebait) or other fish.
Biodiversity Is there native vegetation already growing on the banks? If so, then you might want to improve the diversity of the existing vegetation. Are there springs or wet areas on the banks? If so, these riparian wetlands need specific plants that can cope with very wet soils. If there is no vegetation or only grass and weeds, then establishing native plants at the site might be your objective.
Bank Stability Are the banks collapsing or slumping? Then you need to measure how high the banks are to choose the best option.
Contaminants If water quality is a problem, you might see a lot of algae or water weed, cloudy water, or notice a bad smell. Does water runoff from the surrounding land? If so, then filtering run off might be your main objective. If the land is flat and there isn’t much runoff, the establishing riparian cover will help water quality.