What to Plant - and why

Native seedling © Planet Ark

bushland flowers 2 © Caroline Jones

Before deciding what to plant, please consider whether planting is the most appropriate activity for the area you are targeting. The Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR) advise that where a natural soil profile still exists there is always a chance that natural regeneration can occur using a variety of methods to get things going, such as weed removal or even fire.

The 3 Rs of restoration are:

  • Retain remnant indigenous vegetation;
  • Regenerate where there is any potential for natural regeneration; and,
  • Replant only where there is no regeneration potential.

The AABR has also produced an excellent planting guide. If in doubt please seek advice from your local council or environmental group such as Greening Australia, Landcare, Coastcare and Bushcare (see below for more links).

Tree Day is all about planting native species that are local to your area, often referred to as provenance plants. Local native plants have a better chance of survival, particularly in drought conditions, since they have adapted over millions of years to the conditions in your area.

Australian native plants that do not naturally occur in your region can, in fact, become weeds. One example is the Cootamundra Wattle (Acacia baileyana), which originates from the Cootamundra region of NSW but has become a problem in other areas of Australia where it can invade bushland and displace local native wattles. For a guide to other potential native weeds visit the Society for Growing Australian Plants web site.

Having a diverse range of local native trees, shrubs and ground covers is also the best way to support the local native wildlife in your area, providing the food, shelter and habitat that they are best suited to.

By planting natives grown from local seed you will also help to promote biodiversity in native plants and animals (biodiversity is the variety of all living things). Loss of biodiversity is one of the biggest environmental threats that the planet is experiencing, and one that is being compounded by climate change.