TREES FOR RIVER & CREEK PLANTINGS

Nimbin Plant Selection Guide


David McMinn



The following species are suitable for planting along creeks and rivers, as they help consolidate the creek/river banks against erosion. Two lists are presented - the first gives those species that will grow in rocky creek beds or along the embankments of rivers and streams. They have fibrous root systems and usually thin trunks making these species capable of withstanding strong floods. The second listing presents species with thick trunks and massive roots, which help to consolidate the upper banks of rivers and creeks. Frost resistance needs to be considered, as these plants will usually need to grow on frosty creek flats and low points in the topography. Initial plantings should consist of frost resistant species only. As they grow and form a protective canopy, other more cold sensitive species may be included in follow up plantings. All species are native to north-east NSW and south east Queensland. 


References


Lines-Kelly, Rebecca & Currey, Anne (Eds)
. Trees for the NSW North Coast. NSW Dept of Agriculture. 1992
Jones, David L. Rainforest Plants of Australia. Reed Books P/L. 1986.

Nicholson, Nan & Nicholson, Hugh. Australian Rainforest Plants. Vols I, II, III, IV & V. 1985-2000.

Radke, Peter & Radke, Ann. Growing Australian Tropical Plants. Frith & Frith Books. 1993. 

TREES SUITABLE FOR CREEK BEDS & STEEP RIVER BANKS 
Tree Species Height
(m)
Growth 
Rate
Comments
Lilly Pilly
Acmena smithii 'narrow-leaved form'.
10 Moderate. The 'narrow-leaved from' of Acmena smithii is suitable for rocky creek beds, where it must cope with major floods. It is a sprawling small tree with a coppiced habit and multi stems. It quite versatile and handles wet soils (not sour), light frost and sun or shade.
 
Bangalow Palm
Archontopheonix
cunninghamii
20 Fast in
wet soils
Can be quite fast growing in favourable moist/wet soils. May be swept away by floods when young. Takes some frost when established. Grow under the protection of large trees in areas prone to heavy frosts.

Weeping Bottlebrush
Callistemon viminalis
7-10 Fast Eucalyptus & rainforest. Grows to 6-10 metres. The beautiful red flowers are nectar bearing and attract birds. Frost hardy.

River Oak
Casuarina cunninghamiana
10-20 Fast Eucalypt forest. Largest of the casuarinas growing to over 20 metres. Grows naturally along rivers and stream. Fine textured leaves.

Swamp Oak
Casuarina glauca

10-12

Fast

Associated with eucalyptus forest. Very adaptable as to soil type.

Blue Quandong
Elaeocarpus grandis
30 Fast Rainforest. Plant along permanent creeks or in moist sites (not swamps). This tree grows very rapidly and is ideal to establish a quick canopy to protect slower growing rainforest species. Can be setback by frost when young.
 
Creek Sandpaper Fig
Ficus coronata
3-10 Fast Rainforest. This is a small tree some only 8 to 10 metres tall and usually found along streams. Produces prolific quantities of fruit for wildlife.
 
Cabbage Palm
Livistona australis
20 Moderate Rainforest & wet eucalypt forest. Slow to be become established. Quite frost tolerant even when young.

Brush Cherry
Syzygium australe
8 Moderate A widely distributed species, often found growing along creek banks. It is usually only about 3 - 4 m tall, but can reach 30 m under favourable conditions. Takes full sun or semi shade. Frost tolerant.

Water Gum
Tristaniopsis laurina
5-10 Slow Eucalypt & rainforest. Along creek banks, this species grows into old gnarled specimens after withstanding many floods. Excellent to prevent soil erosion.

Weeping Lilly Pilly
Waterhousea florabunda
12-18 Moderate Rainforest. Usually found along stream banks. Very attractive tree with semi weeping branches. Likes plenty of water, but will not tolerate sour or poorly drained sites. Withstands a light frost. 


TREES SUITABLE TO PLANT AT THE TOP OF RIVER BANKS
Tree Height
(m)
Growth
Rate
Comments
Ash species
Alphitonia species
12 Fast Fast growing species for well drained sites. Excellent in initial plantings to create a quick canopy. Hardy in full sun and tolerant of cold conditions.

Black Bean
Castanospermum australe
8-15 Moderate once established. Eucalypt and rainforest. Pods & seeds poisonous to livestock. Valuable timber tree.

Rose Gum
Eucalyptus grandis
30-40 Fast Eucalypt forest. Very fast growing gum tree, which will quickly consolidate river banks. Needs well drained soils.

Moreton Bay Fig
Ficus macrophylla
White Fig
Ficus virens
15 Moderate Rainforest. The expansive root system is excellent for protecting stream/river banks from erosion. Needs plenty of room as they will grow into very large trees. Fruit provides forage for wildlife.

Silky Oak
Grevillea robusta
20-30 Fast Eucalypt and rainforest. The nectar-rich flowers attract birds and fruit bats in September - October. Prime cabinet timber tree.

Brown Pine/Plum Pine
Podocarpus elatus
10-15 Slow Eucalypt and rainforest. Can be slow to establish. Prefers fertile moist soils. Fruit eaten by birds. Good cabinet timber tree.
Copyright.   2004. David McMinn. All rights reserved.