Australian Native Trees

Course CodeVHT115
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

AUSTRALIAN NATIVE TREES: Their Identification, Propagation, Selection and Care

Are you interested in learning more about Australia's native trees?

This course first teaches you about

  • different types of Australian flora,
  • plant identification,
  • information sources,
  • planting,
  • feeding,
  • soils,
  • pests & diseases,
  • watering,
  • propagation
  • and transplanting.

The remaining lessons then deal with selected varieties of trees, windbreak planting, agroforestry, tree maintenance and tree selection.


TREE IDENTIFICATION is a high priority throughout the entire course.

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction
    • Review of the system of plant identification, general characteristics of native trees, information contacts (ie: nurseries, seed, clubs, etc.)
  2. Culture
    • Planting, Establishing techniques, Soils, Feeding, Watering, Pest & Disease control etc.
  3. Propagation
    • Seed Propagation, Propagation of Eucalypts and Acacias, How To Collect Native Tree, Seed, How To Germinate Native Tree & Shrub Seed, etc.
  4. Important groups of native trees (excluding Eucalypts)
    • Review of more than 100 genera, special study of the Acacias.
  5. More Important Groups
    • Eucalyptus, Other particularly hardy & fast growing genera, Diagnosing Tree Problems, Introduction to Tree Surgery.
  6. Other Varieties
    • Native Conifers, Rainforest Trees, etc.
  7. Making The Best Use of Native Trees
    • Landscape applications, Biological Control of Pest & Disease, Cut Flowers, Firewood, Timber, etc.
  8. Special Assignment (on one selected plant or group).


  • To identify Australian Native Trees
  • To describe the culture of Australian Native Trees.
  • To propagate Australian Native Trees
  • Compare characteristics and cultural requirements of different commonly grown species of Australian Native Trees.
  • Compare characteristics and cultural requirements of conifer and rainforest species of Australian Native Trees.
  • Describe a range of uses for Australian native trees.
  • Study one type of Australian Native Tree in depth.


Erosion control
Trees help control or reduce erosion in several ways, including:

  • By their roots binding soil particles together.
  • By acting as windbreaks, decreasing the winds’ ability to dislodge and move soil particles.
  • Acting as a physical barrier trapping moving soil particles.
  • Reducing the erosive potential of rainfall by providing a protective cover over the soil below.
  • Intercepting rainfall, which then either:

1. Evaporates back into the atmosphere without ever reaching the ground,
2. Drips slowly from the tree foliage reducing the potential for surface runoff (longer time available for water to infiltrate into the soil), hence reducing the likelihood of surface erosion.
3. Flows down the branches, and trunk of the trees eventually reaching the ground, but with far less erosive power (energy) than if it dripped or fell directly onto the ground surface.

Lowering watertables
Trees help lower water tables reducing water logging of surface soils and salinity problems. Clear felling in farm stations has resulted in the rising of water tables to the detriment of crops and other native plants. This has become a major problem for vast areas of Australia. Sodic soil hinders roots development, and nutrient and water uptake due to high salt content.

Sheltering stock
Trees provide vital shelter for farm animals. Stock suffering from heat stress are more likely to pollute dams and waterways. Research shows that shelter can improve milk production, ram fertility and stock liveweight. Shelter also reduces deaths of lambs and sheep from exposure during cold or wet weather.

Windbreaks protect grazing animals and crops from wind borne debris (e.g. damaging sand particles). They also help protect against cold or hot winds that can damage crops, and require stock to expend a lot of energy trying to cool or warm their bodies, rather than using the energy to produce more growth (increasing yields).

This could be in commercial plantations. Soft wood timbers are commonly planted by forestry departments to keep up with the building industry demands. Some pioneer farmers have been planting native timbers, not only of gums, but of other prized timbers that are no longer harvested from rainforests. The concept of planting your own superannuation plan has become popular for individuals with adequate land and suitable soil. Timber harvested on your own land may also be used for fencing and other simple structures around the property. Some people have been known to harvest their own timbers to build their own home.

Firewood may be grown both for on farm use, or as a commercial crop. This reduces the reliance on our remnant forests. The firewood may also be smoulder-burned to supply charcoal to the nursery and other industries.

Some tree species may provide supplementary feed for livestock, particularly during harsh times such as drought.

Honey production
Native and exotic trees can be used for the purpose of honey production. Distinctive flavours can be marketed such as sugar gum, leatherwood, yellow box, etc.

Improving Soils
Leguminous trees (eg. Acacias, Casuarinas, Robinia, Honey Locust, Cassia), increase levels of nitrogen in soils through the action of nitrogen fixing bacteria on their roots.

Most trees, like other deep rooted plants, are capable of taking nutrients from deep in the soil profile and lifting them up into the leaves which in turn fall to the ground. This in affect acts as a recycling system for nutrients that have been leached deep into the soil profile.

Increasing Rainfall
It has been reported that treed districts will receive more rainfall than near-by non-treed districts in the same area. These reports are based on large land areas, not small acreage lots. In high altitude areas the foliage canopy of tall trees may at times penetrate cloud layers. Moisture from the clouds may condense on the tree foliage and drip to the ground, thereby effectively increasing rainfall in the area.

Trees can be used to slow down fire -if they are the right type of tree

Wildlife habitat 
Trees can be used to create wildlife corridors



If you are interested in learning about Australian plant life, why not have a look at –

Australian Ferns

Australian Natives I

Australian Natives II

Or perhaps even learn how to book with Bushtucker Plants.




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