Revegetating your small property

Page last updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 - 9:44am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

When revegetating your property it is important to plan, prepare and monitor your site to ensure you get the most out of it.

Landholders revegetate for many different reasons, making sure you know what to do is vital to ensure the project is a success the first time round.

Prepare the site

There are a number of different activities that must be undertaken in order to prepare the site for planting, depending on the condition of the soil, the amount of weeds present and the location of the revegetation area.

It is vital to know what you are trying to achieve before you take any action, so you don’t have to restart or even worse, rip out your work later.

A good place to start is to read Plan to plant on your small property to ensure that all considerations have been made prior to commencing work.

Soil preparation

Ripping fractures the compaction zone (200-400mm below the soil surface), allowing penetration of tree roots and improving moisture infiltration. It can improve the growth of seedlings and should be done when the soil is dry.

A winged ripping tine results in better shattering of the subsoil compared with a conventional tine. On most soils, rip along the contour to at least 500mm deep using a single rip line per row of trees.

Mounding is essential on wet soils and is advisable on all but elevated, deep sandy soils. The concentration of topsoil in the mound is beneficial for survival and early growth.

The mound should be at least 200-300mm high, about 1000mm wide and located over the rip line.

Weed control

Weed control should commence at least 12 months prior to planting and targeted to the species. This will ensure at least one control effort in each season.

Different weeds require different chemicals, dilution rates and timing of application for the most effective control.

For help in identifying weeds there are now weed identification applications for mobile phones. For example, DAFWA's MyPestGuide apps let users easily create and send reports directly to DAFWA.  Experts will identify your pest, reply back to your device and map it online.

Alternatively, purchase a reference guide like  ‘Southern Weeds’, ‘Western Weeds’ or ‘Weed Deck’.

As a last resort, take a specimen (including leaves, stems, flowers and roots) to your local DAFWA office.

Pest control

The most common pests threatening revegetation projects are rabbits and kangaroos.

Some species of plants are more palatable, and therefore are more likely to be grazed by kangaroos. Most native plant nurseries will have a list of species that are least attractive to kangaroos.

Alternatively speak with the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) for alternate methods to manage the kangaroo population.

Another pest often hindering the growth of revegetation sites are rabbits. There are several rabbit control methods available to rural and semi-rural residents. For more information refer to our Rabbit control options page.


Sheep and other livestock can be a major cause of losses in newly established vegetation if not fenced out. A permanent or electric fence is best to protect your growing trees.

Be sure to leave gate access for periodical maintenance.

Kangaroos are often deterred from accessing a revegetation site when the bottom two wires in a standard 5-wire fence are electric, particularly if there are sufficient alternative food sources.


As a general guide for revegetation projects, aim for one plant every 1m2. This sounds like a small amount of space between plants, but smaller spacing means less light, nutrients and space available to weeds.

Once your plants establish, they will be effective at out-competing most weed species, whereas sparser plantings will always contain more weeds.

In order to provide the best environment for your seedlings to grow, follow these steps:

  1. Water the plants well before planting.
  2. Remove the plant carefully.
  3. If the seedling is root bound, gently tease the roots out to encourage lateral root growth.
  4. Holes for the seedlings can be made using a tree-planter, spade or small mattock. Rough-sided holes are best, as these will also encourage lateral root growth.
  5. Place the plant in the hole and gently firm down the soil to ensure no large air spaces are left between the plant and surrounding soil. The soil level after planting should be even with the potting mix soil of the plant. If the seedling sticks out above the soil any exposed roots will die and if the stem, which was exposed in the pot, is covered in soil stem rot can occur.
  6. If you are planting into very dry soil (as sometimes happens in a dry or slow start to the planting season), it’s a good idea to water the plants in thoroughly.
  7. As a general rule, space plants as follows:
  • trees, three to four paces apart
  • large shrubs, two to three paces apart
  • small shrubs and ground covers, one to two paces apart.

Monitoring and maintenance

Monitoring the processes you use to prepare and plant your site and the progress of your site is important, as it allows you to refine your plans and make necessary changes to ensure the success of the project.

Make notes during site preparation and planting of anything you think could be helpful in the subsequent stages of your planting project.

Things such as when the boggy patch got too boggy to work on, which tool ended up being most useful onsite or how long it took you to plant ‘x’ number of plants.

This information is vital to making things easier on you next year but chances are if you don’t note it down, it won’t be remembered.

When planting, set up several photo points so you can monitor growth over time. A photo point is simply a spot that you will regularly take a photo from. It can be as simple as a fencepost tagged with marker spray.

Use these photos to monitor the changes in the site over time.

Seedling survival

If you’ve done your site preparation, weed and pest control, and taken care during planting, your seedling survival rates in the 600-800mm rainfall zone should be in the order of 75%.

You can check this by doing a count. Pick several rows in different parts of your site and calculate the percentage survival. Average your counts and that will give you an estimate of overall survival.

Weed control

Ongoing weed control is likely to be needed for several years after planting to ensure good seedling survival rates. Use a notebook to record the location of weed infestations and the relative success of control efforts.

Infill planting

Depending on seedling survival, you may need to do infill planting in subsequent years to fill any gaps where plants have died.

Densely planted revegetation will be more resistant to new weed infestation establishing than sparse plantings, so filling the gaps is a good idea.

A revegetation calendar can be a handy tool to assist with managing your land on a month-to-month basis or seasonal basis.

There are many different reasons to revegetate your property, but before you do it is important to plan, prepare and monitor your site to ensure you get the most out of it.

Knowing what to do is vital to ensure the project is a success the first time round.