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Trees Please! aim is for a greener NZ and a greener future. Care information is included with your baby tree but here are a few more top tips.



  • Take your planter with tree out of the gift box before watering it.
  • In the large gift boxes, gently ease out by holding the lip of the planter
  • In the small gift boxes or gift set. Remove any additional gifts first, then tilt the box and tap if necessary to encourage the planter forward. Once you can get a grip on the planter, pull it forward. If there is a ribbon around the planter, use this to assist.
  • Remove the paper covering the stones and potting mix.
  • Our trees have been outside (hardened to Auckland weather conditions), once out of the gift box place somewhere well sheltered and protect from frost. Watch out that the planter is not sodden by rain for long periods or your plant might rot.
  • Most of the trees can be kept inside for a while providing they have sufficient light and water however, they are best outside.
  • If transitioning trees from being inside to outside, don’t leave them out if it’s going to be a really cold night or frost as they won’t have hardened to your conditions properly.
  • Wooden planters hold the water and don’t transmit heat so a good drink 1 – 2 times per week allowing the planter and potting mix to dry between watering is best. Watering is a key thing and only you can judge how your tree is doing.
  • If you have your planter wet continually it’s likely that your tree will die. It’s better to err on the side of caution and don’t give too much. There are water retention molecules in the potting mix.


If you wish to encourage your tree to be bushy, you can nip out side buds on some plants (eg pohutukawa). Always think about shape when ever you do this as it may not be appropriate on some trees.

Pohutukawa trees: As they get older the base of the trunk changes, the bottom leaves drop off and the trunk goes hard and woody. To help trees bush out, pinch out some of the tips as they come through.

New growth will wilt if they need water. A good drink and they should revive overnight.

Kowhai trees: Drop leaves and sulk often in transplanting or with changes of temperature. Depending on where they are planted and weather temperatures they will shed some leaves to all leaves pre flowering.

Kowhai are susceptible to a little green native caterpillar that is often in the tips and are quite hard to see. As a healthy adult they will generally survive these caterpillars but if not healthy or younger trees either remove by hand or spray (we prefer natural organic sprays).

Lemons/Limes and Olives: Remove fruit as they form in the first year or two to allow your tree to put energy into growth and not its fruit or leave only a few and make sure you increase your feeding at times recommended to ensure they have enough nutrients.

New growth on Lemons and Limes can have little holes - these are sometimes caused by the leaves rubbing on the thorns of older plants while in the nursery.

Camellia, Gardenia, Rhododendron and Magnolia These plants are acid loving, gross feeders. Specialised fertilisers can be purchased from Garden Centres and should be applied as per their instructions. If leaves turn yellow, try using some diluted epsom salts!


Generally you are best to grow your baby tree on in a pot slightly larger than your wooden pot and then move it to a larger pot or the garden.

If growing on in a pot, select a good size pot and make sure you use quality container potting mix with slow release fertiliser. There are lots of books or information on line about different types of pots. If using clay pots you need to seal them, most ceramic pots are already sealed on the inside. Find fun things to use such as old shoes, tyres or old containers to grow in. Make sure whatever you use, has good drainage holes.

Container plants need plenty of water (so ensure drainage is good) and top up with appropriate fertiliser for your tree type at key time(s) of the year.

By growing your tree in a container, you can keep your tree to a controlable size and you can take it with you should you move! 


About New Zealand Natives

Trees are the anchor of life on earth. They give food, shelter and beauty. They symbolize life. They are the spirit of Aoteroa New Zealand. 

New Zealand's long geographical isolation and absence of browsing animals has meant that New Zealand has developed a unique variety of native flora. We have approximately 260 species of native trees, adapted to our many micro-climates. Our native forest ranges from subtropical Kauri forests in the northern North Island, to West Coast temperate rainforests, alpine forests of the Southern Alps and Fiordland and coastal forests of the Abel Tasman National Park and the Catlins.

Our native plants are either indigenous (grow naturally in this country but not restricted to it, and are not considered introduced), or endemic (plants only found in one country or region). Over 80% of our native plants are endemic which is extremely high. Nearly all of our native trees are evergreen, with only a handful of species which are deciduous or partially deciduous. Another distinctive feature of our native trees is that a number of species have a distinct juvenile phase, which can look very different to their adult phase.

NOTE: Latest figures out (04 Feb 2011) show that New Zealand's forest ecosystems are the 2nd most threatened in the world, housing only 7% of their original habitat.


It is believed that over 80% of New Zealand was originally covered with forest but this has declined with the advent of human settlement. The early Polynesian settlers attempted to use traditional slash and burn techniques used in tropical countries but New Zealand’s more temperate and seasonal climate meant that forest didn’t re-grow resulting in deforestation. By the beginning of the 19th century 64% cover remained and with the arrival of European settlers during the 19th and 20th centuries, deforestation accelerated. Today there is less than 23% forest cover.

Why we need trees

Trees have a major role in our environment as they;

  • Provide shade and shelter
  • Stabilise land
  • Provide habitat for birds and insects
  • Trap and store energy from the sun
  • Purify the atmosphere
  • Regulate the climate

Plus they have enormous amenity and educational value, provide aesthetic beauty to our cities, towns and rural area and who hasn’t experienced the enormous adventure and fun of climbing a tree!


  • Lawrie Metcalf. “New Zealand Trees and Shrubs” Reed Publishing NZ 2000
  • Tony Foster Plant "Heritage New Zealand" Penguin Group 2008
  • Fiona Eadie. "100 best native plants for New Zealand gardens" Random House 2008
  • Don C Bell.  “Trees for New ZealandTown and Country” David Bateman Ltd 2001
  • Andrew Crow “Which Native tree can I grow here.” Penguin Book 1997
  • Photography: ©2008 www.NZplantPics.com
  • Albany Studios: Product images 
  • Dave Flynn: Native forest images

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