Successful Establishment

Planting a forest or woodlot is a long-term decision, often involving significant expenditure. Landowners are advised to plan any new planting carefully.  A growers' objectives and site characteristics are key factors. Growers within or close to one of NZDFI's proposed regional wood supply catchments should also be aware of any discussions around a future central processing facility, and consider what the dominant local markets might be in future. We recommend the following steps:

1. Clearly define your objectives

Consider the four suggested NZDFI regimes together with the planting site you may have already identified:

  • Peeler pole
  • Peeler/sawlog
  • Permanent forests
  • Continuous cover forestry

Each of these regimes suits different owner objectives and site-types, and requires a different approach to planting, particularly in terms of planting density.

Check out our 'Choosing the right regime' information if you haven't already done so.

2. Develop a planting plan

This will include accurately mapping the area to be planted, and then working through the steps required to successfully establish a plantation.

As well as planning the practical steps, you are advised to:

  • put together a budget
  • inform your regional council of your planting plans
  • assess your eligibility for the Emissions Trading Scheme and any available planting grants
  • work with rural professionals - e.g. regional council land management advisers or local forestry consultants - if you need additional expertise. Think especially about future harvesting at the planning stage, and if necessary, discuss access requirements for harvesting with an experienced harvesting forester.

We recommend you give yourself 6-12 months lead-in time before the spring in which trees are due to be planted. Planting stock will need to be ordered well in advance.

NZDFI's recipe for successful establishment

NZDFI has a simple recipe for successful establishment:

  • Select site to match species by…
  • Understanding species and planting requirements
  • Clear planting sites by spraying in winter
  • Control animal pests
  • Ensure tree stocks are high quality (insist on ‘XyloGene’ planting stock)
  • Spring planting (and fertilising)
  • Summer releasing.

Clonal stock ready for planting.

New planting at Dillon's property, Marlborough



3. Select the right species for your site

NZDFI has a network of over 40 trials across a wide range of site types, some of which have been in the ground since the early 2000s.  These trials include over 600 permanent sample plots (PSPs), from which data are collected and analysed.  Research at the University of Canterbury School of Forestry into site/species interactions is also on-going, so our experience of how different species perform in various New Zealand growing conditions is increasing all the time.