Completely unlike other native plants, the grass tree is an iconic part of the Australian bush and has been around for thousands of years. Considered to be a living fossil, adding a grass tree to your garden not only gives you a piece of history that generations of your family will be able to enjoy, but it will also provide a dramatic, architectural presence that will give your garden a whole new focal point.
To ensure that your new grass tree truly thrives, here’s what you need to do:
Find a Reputable Grass Tree Nursery
Not only is it illegal to remove a grass tree from its natural habitat, but the tree’s unique root system will be unlikely to thrive in your garden after that. For the best chances of survival, , one that is licensed to sustainably grow and harvest these historic specimens.
Plant Your Grass Tree in a Suitable Location
While some grass trees, such as the , will do well in a container, the tree truly thrives when planted in the ground. Choose a location that receives full sun or partial shade, and make sure that it’s protected from strong winds. Since grass trees don’t enjoy being moved, it’s important to pick the perfect spot in your garden right from the start.
The grass tree hates waterlogged soil, which is why it tends to grow on steep slopes in its natural environment. Therefore, good drainage is a must, especially since your grass tree will need to be regularly watered for the first few months after planting.
Try to disturb your grass tree’s roots as little as possible when planting – you may need to cut the pot away from the rootball, rather than lifting the tree out.
Give Your Grass Tree Enough Water, But Not Too Much
Once established, grass trees are pretty drought-tolerant, but they still do best when watered regularly. Once or twice a week is usually enough during dry spells in the summer, but make sure that you keep the actual trunk of your grass tree as dry as possible – too much water on the trunk will soften it, leaving it vulnerable to pests and diseases. The same applies to the foliage too, making it important to always direct water to the soil surrounding the tree instead.
Try to Promote Root Growth
For your grass tree to really thrive, you need to encourage its root system. Regular deep watering can help with this, as can using a liquid seaweed fertiliser for the first few months after planting. Many experts also recommend applying a mixture of brown sugar and water to the soil surrounding your grass tree for the first couple of years after planting – this feeds the mycorrhiza in the soil, enabling the tree’s roots to grow bigger and stronger.