(Casuarina equisetifolia) belongs to family Casuarinaceae is the most popular farm forestry tree.Often called Australian pines, Though useful as firewood and windbreaks,
Fast-growing casuarina trees can reach heights of 60 to 100 feet tall. Their long, wispy needles are a medium green. They flower with small yellow, red or brown flowers, and they grow tiny, seed-filled cones in the late summer and fall. They grow prolifically from seed.
It is considered a very valuable tree throughout the world. The wood makes an excellent source of firewood. The wood is also good for construction materials and for roofing and tools. In some places the tree is used to produce paper.
The Casurina Tree is a very hardy tree and is useful in protecting shorelines from tsunamis. The Casurina can withstand a tsunami wave better than coconut and a forest of Casurina can provide quite a bit of protection. If you are caught in a Tsunami and cannot escape any other way, climbing a Casuarina is a recommended option.
Casuarina Trees exhaust the soil under them killing all other plants. However, its usefulness as a tsunami break outweighs its invasive tendencies.
Casuarina is a fast growing, drought hardy, care free species for sites and climates as varied as coastal regions, hot humid tropics and even semi-arid regions. The tree remains unaffected even by cyclones in coastal areas. It can be grown upto an altitude of 1500 metres. It tends to be bushy when the water table is low and dies when the water table rises to the surface level. The species does not coppice and is not frost hardy but can withstand low temperature.
It is mainly planted in areas with tropical & hot subtropical climates with the mean annual temperature being 28oC. It is light demander requiring bright sunshine for best growth and development. The monthly mean maximum temperature in its native area is 15oC – 33oC, but it is adapted to a wide range of temperatures. On the coasts of the Indian Peninsula, where it thrives well, the absolute maximum shade temperature varies from 35.56 to 41.11oC and the absolute minimum ranging from 7.22 to 17.22oC.
The tree thrives best on loose sandy soils, laterite, rich loamy soils & some marshy places in open areas, where pH varies between 4.8 and 8.4. It prefers sandy soil with high water table during the summer. The species can also grow in saline & alkaline soils. Heavy, clayey soils & soils with poor drainage are detrimental to its growth. This may be because of the reason that the activity of nitrogen fixing bacteria in the root nodules is inhibited in such soils. Good plantations can be seen on laterite soils and well drained sandy loams. The tree is able to survive on poor soils because of its capability to trap atmospheric Nitrogen. The soil includes coastal sand, shifting sterile sand, river alluvium, sandy loam with high water table, red loam, red gravely loam and hard laterite etc. Topography ranges from coastal flats, to very gently undulating terrain.
Casuarina trees can take over an area without consistent maintenance. They often displace native vegetation and change the ecology of their area, making it difficult for native plants to grow; when branches fall, they produce chemicals when they decompose that seep into the soil and make it inhospitable to other plants. Also, the large amount of shade created by casuarina trees can block the sun, keeping native plants from growing. This creates an additional problem