GabionsLandPlant SystemsSoil RehabilitationWater ConservationWater Harvesting

How to Plant Bamboo and its Application in Creek Restoration

Recently I joined Nick Huggins on a farm near Wagga to see what he was up to. (Here are the details of his first visit in case you missed it.)

This time the main purpose of the trip was to repair the creek that ran through the property. The creek is nothing special, it runs half the year and doesn’t have much living in or around it. There was a lot of evidence of erosion, not a lot of soil left and no protection from flood events.

So Nick got to work, spending the week installing rock gabions and bamboo every few hundred metres or so.
What looks to the untrained eye, and the catchment authority, as works to block up the creek and stuff up the natural ecology is actually a process of fast tracking the repair that happens naturally as trees and other debris fall across the flow and slow down the water, holding back nutrient and kick starting the soil building process.

In fact the very people that would oppose this kind of work will be the very same people trying to protect it in only a few years when the endangered frogs species have returned and the surrounding well hydrated land is lush and abundant with life.

Aside from being gorgeous and having too many uses to mention, bamboo plays a crucial part in flood protection as it’s able to withstand massive pressure. Planted out like wings along side the gabions, it will drop lots of mulch, pacify raging floodwaters and catch all that eroded goodness flowing from degraded farms upstream. The result will be fast, high quality soil creation that will set the conditions for other life to come back in, such as reeds and grasses that will continue to build on the pioneer work done by Nick.

Drawing on 11 years of horticulture experience, Nick planted 160 Bamboo plants for the client that week and has taken the time to film this video to show you how to give your bamboo the best chance of survival by doing all the right things when transplanting. Enjoy!


  1. G’day,

    Nice work on the site and video production. Be interesting to see how this site develops as will the local attitudes towards the species used.

    All the best,


  2. Nice. Would like to have seen some closer shots of the gabions and a big picture overview or diagram maybe.

    What did the catchment authority say about this project. Did it require a permit? What about mosquitoes breeding in the little ponds remaining after a flood? If the stream is seasonal there might not be enough fish to eat the larvae.

  3. Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    Darren, it’s an interesting site. In the middle of Sheep and cropping country. It’s been a very good season in the Wagga/ Riverina since summer rains and winter follow up rain..
    I’m looking to hard working exotic species that can speed up repair process and catch mulch and silt, slow and pacify peak flood events. I have made another movie that Pat will be releasing soon on the construction of the Gabions. It would be great to get your feedback and thoughts on it.

    JBob, Pat will confirm this, but I actually said to him when we started filming this “what do you reckon JBob will say about this” You owe me $10 Pat. To put your mind at rest, as stated before, I have made another movie that Pat will be releasing soon on the construction of the Gabions and the theory and methods, so stay tuned.
    Hamish. I think this sort of work will be of interest out Goondiwindi way. See you in August.

  4. Phragmites would also supply vital waterfowl habitat where the bamboo will not

    due to differences id reccomend using the bamboo on steer or eroding banks and fast flowing streams where itd shade, bind teh banks and supply a stream of detritus for in stream ‘shredders’
    itd also reduce inputs of nitrogen and phosphorus to the system

    Phragmites would be far better in lowland areas that get flooded for longer periods, or broad streams subject to flash flooding as it can really take a beating, more so than bamboo

    Callistemon species are also ideal in those situations

  5. also most frogs will breed in ephemeral wetlands outside the main stream, away from fish, dragonfly larvae and yabbies

    so dont expect frog miracles from stream renewal
    you are more likley to find them in shallow grassy temporary lakes
    where the water is still, warm and shallow and productivity very high due to submerged grasses and alagl biofilsm on standing stems

    or seasonal off stream pools with rotting leaf litter

  6. Thanks for the tips. Good work guys. Info like this on capturing the soil is so important.
    Some of the biggest causes of soil erosion erosion include overgrazing, deforestation and our rivers that have been opened up by man. Here’s some info to emphasize the extent of the problem of soil erosion: Since 1950 we have lost 1/5 of the topsoil from the worlds agricultural land and 1/5 of the topsoil from tropical forests. A United Nations study has found that 10.5 per cent of the planet’s most productive soils – an area the size of China and India combined – have been seriously damaged by human activities since World War II. 1.25 billion hectares is considered to be seriously degraded.

  7. Bamboo is totally the wrong thing to be planting here! Sure it will grow quickly, but it will also end up totally dominating the stream and causing more problems that it solves. Better to use indigenous species that take longer to do the job and end up with a better ecological outcome.

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