SFF Project Summary

Project Title: Slashing the Cost: Implementing Forestry Methods for Establishing Indigenous Plants
Grant No.: L12/098

Contact Details

Name of Applicant Group: T?nes Tree Trust
Contact Person: Sarah Bodley-Davies
Address: T?nes Tree Trust
PO Box 12094
Telephone 1: 07 858 4404
Telephone 2:
Email: office@tanestrees.org.nz

Project Details

Status: Finished
SFF Funding: 25,000
Total Project Funding: 49,000
Proposed Start Date: Oct-12
Proposed Finish Date: Jun-13
Region: National, North Island, Waikato
Sector: Forestry
Sub-sector: Farm forestry
Topic: Crop production
Indigenous crops

Last udpated: August 2013

Final Report

Project description

Previous work funded by SFF (SSF 06/041) has shown that native plants started in open ground survive transplanting at least as well as container grown plants. The cost advantage of this method of raising planting stock is significant, with open grown plants costing about half that of container grown plants.  Early results from those Mahurangi Harbour catchment trials demonstrated that forestry-style methods are more cost-effective than those using container-raised stock. This success led directly to similar trials being established in the Lake Taupö catchment. This project will build on these results by analysing on-going survival and growth rates of these trials, and by providing nurseries and planting agencies with a practical handbook to inform their decision as whether to embrace the open-ground method and to ensure the best possible outcome should they do so.

The issue/opportunity

There is a growing awareness of the need to reclaim portions of farm land from grass to trees. Thus steep hillsides, riparian margins and upland gullies are prone to erosion and nutrient loss under  shallow rooted grass species. Trees are the ideal solution to these erosion and nutrient problems and there is great interest both in the ecological benefits and the carbon  capture benefits of growing trees. The costs of planting native species, both shrubs and trees, has made such plantings prohibitive at $4-$7 per plant, while exotic species such as pine may cost as low as $0.25. There is much to be gained from providing native planting stock at prices that can compare with exotic species and this project will provide the evidence to show how this can be done.

The context/background

The use of native species for farm shelter and farm forestry while desirable for many farmers for multiple use reasons has been financially out of reach for all but the enthusiast. Our surveys of farmer interest in planting native trees shows that cost of planting stock is a major, if not the only, factor preventing such planting. If planting stock were available at a price approaching that of pines, and if it could be shown that such plants survive and grow as well as the traditionally grown container plants we could see an upsurge in native tree planting both for amenity and for production.


There are three main areas where open grown plants have been trialled in comparison with container gown stock. These trials are now from two to five years old. All indications are that survival and growth are as good if not better than container grown plants. We plan to measure all these trials and compare growth (height, crown spread, stem diameter) and survivorship between treatments and produce a matrix of information which will inform nurseries and growers on the relative merits and prices of the two techniques. The economics and practicality of open grown plants will be developed for both small and large scale afforestation projects.

The information will be developed into nursery guidelines on the methodology and at least one workshop will be held to show first-hand how such methods can be applied. 

Printed material will be produced in Tane's Tree Trust Newsletter and in Mahurangi Magazine and a paper will be produced for inclusion in the TTT handbook.