Using Manuka for Forest Revegetation

Manuka, or simply called “tea tree”, is a scrub-type flowering plant that grows into a moderately sized tree, with dense branches and a short spine tip. It is sometimes confused with kanuka, but manuka leaves are quite prickly  and its wood is tough and hard.

You can get the genus of manuka in various native plant nurseries or with other outlets that sell native plants or other organic commodities. 

Manukas are usually used for revegetation projects for a variety of reasons: 

● It has wide ecological tolerance
● It grows faster
● It has the ability to colonise sites, particularly those with low fertility and low temperature
● Increases production of seed, especially light wind-borne seed.
● Seeds germinate over a wide temperature range

When doing revegetation on your property, there are four ways you can utilize manuka as a crop:

- Direct Seeding
- Establishing nurse crops
- Laying Manuka Brush
- Planting of quick growing species and its mixture

Direct Seeding

This is an inexpensive way in using manuka for your revegetation project. 
Direct seeding requires

- Large quantities of viable seed
- Doing the work in the right season
- Maintaining its optimum conditions
- Controlling of invading and unwanted species 

Direct seeding also broadcasts and places manuka seeds directly in a site where plants germinate and grow. 

It is a good approach as it tends to eliminate competing plants, grasses included. It also helps in the maintenance of microclimate necessary for native seed germination and growth. 

Establish a nurse crop

If there’s no existing vegetation on your property, establishing a nurse crop can help provide shelter on exposed sites for other native plants to grow, with manuka commonly used as nurse crop. 

Nurse crops are meant to be temporary solutions. Once other native species start to grow, the nurse crop can be thinned out by natural (wind and bird dispersion) or by artificial means like pruning.

Laying a manuka bush

This procedure is involves mass planting high densities of manuka to create bush areas quickly with minimal effort. It is usually done by laying branches of manuka (laden with ripe seed) while bearing seed capsules on a cultivated ground. The manuka brush laid over the ground should be in criss-cross fashion, and not laid too densely as this will shade out the manuka. 

Laying a manuka bush will improve the chances of your seedlings and encourage other plant and animal species to repopulate the area. 

Planting a mix of manuka and other quick growing species

Mixing your manuka with other quick growing species is one way to quickly revegetate a piece of property with more species diversity. In this case, quick growing species like Coprosma/Pittosporum are planted with manuka so either plants can provide shelter to each other or to other species. 

Planting Manuka is a great plant to get you started on your property’s forest revegetation. For best results, go to a reliable native plant nursery to get the best crops.

But to increase your chances of having a successful revegetation project, it’s best to consult with professionals.

At Rural Design, we will provide you with competitive pricing on exotic and native plants to work seamlessly with desired landscape. We also eco-source native plant species for propagation within our native plant nursery and we come with a complete package of services to help you with your replanting projects from start to finish. 

So when you come to use for manuka plants, don’t look any further. We offer the best services so your manuka plants and forest revegetation will be in full bloom.