Guide to tree planting in Kenya

Guide to tree planting in Kenya

Planting trees

(c) J. Kinuthia, Infonet Kenya

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Description: This guide was designed by scientists from Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) to provide useful working information to field workers and farmers involved in tree planting in Kenya. It includes information on the requirements of various tree species in different agro-ecological zones regarding soil, climate, uses and expected rotation.

Planting trees


Forests and trees play important roles in peoples' lives. They provide unquantifiable benefits such as improving the climate, regulating stream and river flows, conserving and protecting the soil mantle; and providing stable habitats for wildlife. The latter, together with wilderness values, are the foundation of Kenya's important tourist industry.
Forests and trees are also the backbone of many important economic activities. They are the source of virtually all the nation's supply of building timber, poles, veneers and plywood, wood-fuel, pulp and paper. Other commodities and services from forests and trees include fruits, oils, tannins, resins, medicines, fibre, shade, browse and fodder. The last three are of particular importance to man and livestock, especially in the arid and semi-arid land areas.
Kenya has a small area of reserved forest estate (about 7%). The bulk of the forest estate (200 million ha) support the indigenous forests which provide protective functions as well as yielding wood of high commercial value. Plantations forests (about 0.15 million ha) provide the bulk of wood demand for domestic and commercial needs.

Sustainable forest management and the development of social forestry have become important agenda at national and international fora during the last two decades. 
By the late 1970, a number of major international aid agencies and non-governmental organisations became more involved in tree planting and other forestry activities in the country in rural areas. The Forest Department established forestry extensions service in 1971. However, the effort of tree planting outside the forest reserve has created no more than a marginal impact while deforestation has increased.

The choice of species for planting depends on:

1) The purpose of planting: Species selected must be able to fulfill the objective for planting them - e.g. soil and water conservation - in catchment areas, improvement of soil fertility (supply of mulching material, green manure), animal fodder, shade, and saleable products such as fruits, fire wood and charcoal, timber for construction, craft materials, etc.
2) The environment e.g. climatic conditions, soil type and altitude
3) The ability of the species to establish and provide a wide range of utility, preferable for more than one purpose and a high degree of profitability


Availability of good quality seed on time is a pre-requisite for all tree planting activities. The Kenya Tree Seed Centre, a programme within KEFRI, supplies good quality seed. The centre also provides technical advice on selection of good seed sources. The work of the centre is supported by sub-centres ar Nyeri, Londiani, Kakamega, Kitale, Kibwezi, Gede and Turkana. Quality seed can also be obtained from any sub-centre, field officers of the Kenya Forestry Department or from the Tree Seed Centre at Muguga.
Click here to open the KEFRI seed catalogue.
It would be important for farmers to be able to obtain tree/shrub seeds from the open market and raise their own seedlings as they do with other farm crops, such as maize, cabbages, etc.
The most important species for five of the seven of Kenya's ecological zones have been listed in an alphabetical order under each ecozone (AEZ). Ecological zones I and VII have been excluded because currently there is hardly any tree planting taking place in these zones.
The remaining five ecozones are deemed as receiving annual rainfall as follows:

Ecozone II (over 1400 mm)
Ecozone III (800 to 1400 mm)
Ecozone IV (400 to 800 mm) and
Ecozone V and VI (less than 400 mm)


Trees used in Agroforestry

SpeciesEcologyManagement SystemTree managementEnd UseRemarks
Grevillea robusta
(c) P. Maundu, World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
The Grevillea robusta originated from Australian and is widely used in Africa, 0 - 3000 m.
It does well on neutral to acidic loam or light sandy soils but is not tolerant to waterlogging or heavy clays.
Found in Ecozones II - V
The Grevillea .spp may be found in;
Hedge planting, 
Agroforestry (coexisting with food-crops),
Woodlot and,
Shelterbelt system
The Grevillea .spp may be propagated by use of wildings or seedlings. 
Pollarding, lopping, coppicing and pruning optimizes their benefits if used in their management.
Note; Only young trees coppice well
Maturity takes 6 yrs for poles and 30 yrs for timber
Firewood, charcoal, timber, furniture, poles, veneer, fodder (leaves low quality), bee forage,shade, ornamental, mulch, soil conservation and, windbreakSome communities believe the species attracts lightning in homesteads. However, it is an extremely important tree in the Kenyan highlands and has become an integral part of the farming system in many areas.
Sesbania sesban
(c) P. Maundu and B. Tengnas, World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Kenya
The Sesbania spp survive waterlogging and fix nitrogen improving the soil fertility. Naturally, it distributed from Senegal to Somalia and south to South Africa. It's all over tropical Africa and Asia. It tolerates acid and saline soil and is common in riverine vegetation and in Kenya, is found at the margin of fresh water lakes like Naivasha and Baringo and in seasonal swamps. Widely cultivated in western Kenya; 350- 1,900 m above sea level and Ecozones I - IVMay occur in dense stands, agroforestry (mixed farming system), conservationThe tree is very fast growing and pruning and short rotation is employed in their management. Propagation is by direct sowing at site or wilding and it takes 2 to 3 years to reach maturity.Firewood, poles, medicine (leaves and roots), fodder, shade,soil enrichment via nitrogen fixation,soil conservation (improved fallows), fibre, veterinary medicine and, soap (leaves)The species harbours rootknot nematodes and should therefore be avoided in combination with crops that are very sensitive to nematodes like banana & irish potatoes. Widely used in western Kenya, this tree has a great potential for soil improvement on small farms due to nitrogen fixation and leaf mulch.
Croton megalocarpus 
Found in Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Congo (DRC), Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. In Kenya is wide spread, from the south to the western and northern parts of the country. Found in Ecozones III-IV but very common in zone III, 1000 - 2000 m above sea level and is well adapted to variable highland soilsIt may occur in mixed farming systems, woodlots, boundaries and, agroforestry systemsIt may be propagated by direct sowing at site (recommended), seedlings (sow seed directly in pots) or wilding.
It's fast growing in high potential areas, slow elsewhere; lopping, pollarding and coppicing may be employed.It takes 10 to 25 years to mature.
Firewood (smoke may irritate eyes), timber, charcoal, poles, medicine (bark), bee forage, shade, ornamental, mulch, live fence, boundary planting (popular among Kikuyu) and, veterinary medicineSeed has high oil (30%) and protein content(50%). Oil extract can be a strong purgative. It is not recommended for intercropping due to competition and shade. Cultural beliefs prevent it from being planted close to homes
Cordia abyssinica / Cordia africana 
A large deciduous forest tree of moist warm areas, woodland and bush. Widespread in Kenya, common in pasture land between 1,200 and 2,000 m. mainly in Central Province, around Nairobi, in Meru, Marsabit, Kakamega, and Kisii Districts and in parts of Rift Valley Province. Tends to be riverine in drier areas. Ecozones II - III.Plantation, mixed woodlots, amenity, agroforestryPropagation; wildings and seedlings. Moderate to slow growing; taking 30 - 60 yrs to mature. Pollarding, lopping and coppicing may be applied. Several seedlings may germinate from each stone. Can be pricked out. Young trees grow best under some shade. Tend to branch a lot if grown in full light.Timber, firewood, furniture, beehives, utensils (mortars), edible fruit, medicine (bark, roots), fodder (dry season), bee forage, shade, ornamental, mulch, soil conservation, fibre, glue, boundary marking.The heartwood is hard and takes a good polish, so the timber is prized for furniture, but it can be twisted and difficult to saw. Often found in cropland where it is managed to reduce shade. Provides very good mulch.
Markhamia lutea 
A tropical African tree common in the lake basin and highland areas, to 2,000 m. It stands acid heavy clay soil, but not waterlogging; prefers red loam and has deep roots. Ecozones II-IIIPlantation/ amenity/ agroforestry systemsPropagated by use of seedlings and wildings. Are fast growing and coppicing may be employed in their management. They take between 15 - 30 yrs to matureFirewood (domestic as well as tobacco curing), charcoal, timber, furniture, poles, posts, tool handles, walking sticks, boat building, banana props, medicine (leaves), bee forage, shade, ornamental, mulch, soil conservation, windbreak, ceremonial, boundary marking.The species is widely used in western Kenya. The wood is fairly termite resistant.
Markhamia lutea 
III Red loam to clay loamy soil
Plantation/ woodlot/ amenity 
agroforestry systems
 Timber/ amenity/ 
soil nutrient input
Short (15 - 30 yrs)
Calliandra calothyrsus0 - 1400
III Variable
Agroforestry system Fuel, soil 
nutrient enhancing
Casuarina equisetifolia
(Whispering pine)
Occurs naturally on tropical sea shores - Pacific and Indian Oceans, making it theCasurina with the widest natural distribution.In Kenya is common along the coral beaches and nearby hinterland, 0-1,400 m. The extensive root system enables it to grow in poor soils. It tolerates salty winds and poor, salty and sandy soils of the beaches. Ecozones I-IV but limited to the coast. Seeds at the coast mainly in July - August and February - MarchPlantation/ agroforestrySeedlings and wildings may be used.
Produces root suckers if roots are exposed. Nursery soil where they are to be raised may need inoculation by addition of soil from beneath mature trees. Are fast growing and prune to get clear bole. Coppices when young, but less vigorously than C.cunninghamiana.. Takes 4 - 6 yrs to mature)
Firewood (burns very well), charcoal, furniture, poles (for house construction), posts, boat building (dhow masts), tool handles, fodder, shade, ornamental,mulch, nitrogen-fixing, soil conservation, reclamation of degraded areas, sand-dune stabilization, windbreak, tannin, dyeThe species is said to exhaust soil moisture and lower the water table, and is tolerant to salt water. It suppresses undergrowth and dry needles on the ground may become a fire hazard. The species is reputed to be one of the best fuel species in the world.
Gliricidia sepium 
(Mother of cocoa)
A tree or shrub, wide spread in the tropics due to its many uses and speed of growth. Grows in a variety of soils, both acidic and those low in fertility, mainly in humid lowlands, 0-1,600 m. In Kenya it also does well in drier areas like Kitui and Isiolo. Ecozones III-VI.Woodlots/ 
agroforestry systems
Propagation is by seedlings, cuttings, direct sowing at site(cuttings are best option for live fence). Are fast growing; coppicing, pollarding & lopping may be employedFirewood, poles, fodder (leaves, pods, seeds for ruminants and shoots), bee forage, shade,mulch,ornamental, nitrogen fixing, soil conservation, windbreak, live fence, stakes.The Latin name means "rat-killer" as a poison can be made from the leaves which is toxic to rats as well as other non-ruminants like pigs, donkeys and horses. Bark, roots and seeds may also contain poison. A very useful quick fence can be grown from crossed stakes which soon sprout. Wood is resistant to termites
Leucaena leucocephala 
Widely introduced in the tropics, grows well at altitudes of 0-1,600 m, in full sunlight and in well drained neutral or calcareous soil.Does not tolerate acidic soils. Needs more than 600 mm rainfall. It is naturalized and to some extent invasive in some parts of Kenya with moist ground and warm climate. A psyllid insect pest, Heteropsylla cubana, causes defoliation. In Kenya, the psyllid defoliates the leucaena, resulting in severely reduced production of fodder as well as wood, but without killing the leucaena. Ecozone II-VWoodlots/ mixed
agroforestry systems
Propagation is via Seedlings and direct sowing at site. Is very fast growing on suitable sites; pollarding, lopping and coppicing may be employed. It can become a weed.Firewood, poles, medicine (roots), fodder (leaves and shoots), bee forage, shade, mulch, nitrogen fixing, soil conservation and improvement, windbreak, tannin, dyeThe species exhibits great variation. The mimosine in the leaves can cause hair loss, infertility and stomach problems in livestock, especially non-ruminants like donkeys. Livestock feed should not contain more than 20% Leucaena
Acacia tortilisCommon in most of dry Africa from North and West Africa to South Africa. Wide spread in lowland arid and semiarid areas of kenya. Tolerates a wide range of soils, from sandy, silty to black-cotton soils. May be dominant on dry red soils and prefers slightly alkaline conditions. Often stands along rivers, 0-1,650 m. Can grow in shallow soils is among the most drought-resistant of the acacias in Kenya. Rainfall 150-900 mm. Ecozones IV-VIIMixed enrichment/ agroforestryPropagation is by seedlings, wildings, direct sowing at site (seeds taken straight from pod rarely germinate due to seed dormancy), It's slow growing but may grow relatively fast on dry sandy soils if weeding is done and goats are kept away. Also withstands moderate lopping and does not coppice well. Prune when young.Firewood, timber, charcoal, poles, edible pods medicine, fodder (pods and leaves, especially for goats and camels), bee forage, shade (meeting place for Turkana), ornamental, dune fixation, nitrogen fixation, soil conservation, fibre (strings made from bark), live fence, tannin, dye, thorn used as pins or needles, veterinary medicine.The tree is limited to desert areas. Its pods are popular feed for livestock - are even collected and saved for dry season and even sold in northern Kenya. Should not be planted near homes due to its thorns and the likelihood of attracting caterpillars that feed on it.
Prosopis chilensis 
Cultivated all over the tropics, it's drought resistant and grows on light sandy soils.Tolerant to extreme temperatures, severe drought, overgrazing and waterlogging but is sensitive to weed competition while young. Introduced in Kenya, e.g. in Baringo, Wajir, Magadi, Mandera and Turkana, 0 - 1,500 m. Prosopis .spp, generally referred to as mesquites, have demonstrated their invasiveness in Kenya especially in irrigation schemes in hot areas. Ecozones IV-VII. Does well in sandy to sandy-clay soils to riverine clay/ sandy soilsEnrichment/ 
agroforestry systems
It's propagated by seedlings or direct sowing at site. Fairly fast growing even in dry conditions; coppicing, pruning. Leaves and pods can be lopped for goats.Fodder (pods), firewood, charcoal,soil protection, poles, posts, edible fruit and leaves, bee forage, shade, gum, tannin and live fenceSince the tree has become a weed in wetter areas, planting in cultivated areas should be avoided. There are about 44 mesquites, most of which are found in the warmer parts of the Americas and a few in Asia and Africa.A number of them are terrible weeds.
Melia volkensii 
A valuable tree in the ASALs of Ethiopia and Somalia south to Tanzania. In Kenya is found in Kitui, Mwingi, Machakos, Embu, Taita, Samburu, Isiolo, Makueni, Voi, Tsavo National Park and Moyale in dry bushland or woodland and drier wooded grasslands. Altitude ranges from 400 to 1,650 m and in Ecozones V-VI. Does well in sandy to sandy-clay soils to riverine clay/ sandy soilsMixed/ agroforestry systemsIt may be propagated by seedlings, root cuttings or root suckers, wildings. The tree grows faster if propagated using root suckers. Young trees needs to be protected from goats and coppicing can also be doneFirewood, timber (construction, door frames), medicine (bark), fodder (fruit), bee forage, shade,mulch, soil conservation.Wood hard, brown, and makes good timber, resistant to attack by borers.It is a highly prized tree in the dry areas where it is intercropped with food crops with no adverse effects and occasionally improved yields.
Tamarindus indica 
It is indigenous to tropical Africa; widely used in the Sahel, India, South East Asia, the Caribbean and Central America. A very adaptable species, drought hardy, preferring semi arid areas and wooded grasslands, tolerating salty, coastal winds, even monsoon climates, Altitude ranges from 0 to 1,500 m. Grows in most soils, but prefers well-drained deep alluvial soil; often riverine in very dry areas. Found in Ecozones III-VMixed/ agroforestry 
systems amenity
Good mother trees are chosen for vegetative propagation. Seedlings, wildings, direct sowing at site, grafting and budding for best varieties. They are slow growing but long lived; pollarding, coppicing and, pruning may be used.Firewood, charcoal, timber, furniture, poles, posts, utensils (pestles and mortars, carts), boat building, food (edible fruit pulp, pulp also used for souring porridge, drink, fried seeds, seasoning, flavouring), medicine (leaves, twigs, bark, roots), fodder, bee forage, shade, ornamental, mulch, nitrogen fixing, tannin, dye, veterinary medicineThe fruit has many uses and is important for nutrition in many parts of the world, not least in India.

Trees suitable for Eco-Zone II (over 1400 mm rainfall) 

SpeciesAltitude (m)Soil TypeManagement SystemEnd UseRotation
Acacia mearnsii 
(Black wattle)
1600 - 2000Deep to medium red to 
red loamy
Plantation/ woodlotTanning, fuelShort - (6 - 10 yrs)
Acacia melanoxylon2000 - 3000Variable deep red to 
loamy sandy soils
mixed planting
Soil conservation,
timber, fuel
Short (8 yrs) (30 yrs timber)
Arundinaria alpina 
2200 - 3000Deep red to volcanic 
loamy soils
Plantation, boundary, 
groves, soil protection
Building, fencing, 
handicraft, soil protection
Short (6 - 10 yrs)
Bischofia javonica 
(Bischof wood)
1200 - 1600Deep red/ loamy
enrichment planting
TimberShort (30 - 40 yrs)
Chlorophora excelsa 
0 - 1400Variable sandy
to deep soils
mixed planting
TimberMedium to long
Cordia abyssinica 
1400 - 2500Variable and wide
spectrum but deep
PlantationTimber/ shadeMedium to long (30 - 60 yrs)
Croton megalocarpus 
1000 - 2000Variable deep red 
to loamy sandy soils
Plantation/ mixed/ 
enrichment/ natural systems
Fuel, poles, 
construction, peeler wood
Short to medium
Cupressus lusitanica1800 - 3000Highland (variable) soilsPlantationTimber/ 
hedge shelterbelt
Short (25 - 30 yrs)
Eucalyptus regnans 
(Mountain ash)
2500 - 3000Deep highland
forest soils
Plantation/ woodlotsFuel, poles,
building timber
Short (4 - 6 yrs - poles) 
(10 -20 yrs for timber)
Eucalyptus saligna/ grandis 
(Blue gum)
1400 - 2500Variable, medium
to deep soils
Plantation/ woodlotsFuel, transmission posts
construction, potential timber, 
Short (15 - 25 yrs - for timber)
(5 - 12 yrs for other uses)
Fagara microphylla1200 - 1900Deep red to 
sandy loamy soils
enrichment planting system
TimberShort to medium
(40 -80 yrs)
Maesopsis eminii 
1200 - 1600Deep red/
loamy soils
Plantation/ mixed
enrichment systems
TimberShort (25 - 50 yrs)
Ocotea usambarensis 
1600 - 2500Volcanic deep
loamy soils
mixed systems
TimberMedium to long
Olea welwitchii 
(Elgon Teak)
1600 - 2400Deep loamy soilsPlantation/ mixed
natural systems
Phoneix reclinata0 - 3000Swampy and riparian soilsMixed systems amenityWater conservation, 
basketry, ornamental
Medium to long
Pinus patula1600 - 300Deep wet loamsPlantationTimber/ paperShort (16 - 20 yrs - pulp)
(25 - 30 yrs for timber)
Polyscius kikuyuensis 
1600 - 2500Variable, red to 
loamy clay soil
Mixed, enrichment and
natural management systems
Peeler wood
for boards mainly
Short (30 - 40 yrs)
Prunus africanum 
1600 - 2500VariablePlantation/ mixed
and natural
TimberMedium to long
Syzygium species1000 - 2500Swampy and
riparian soils
Mixed systems
in water courses
Water conservation
Medium to long
Vitex Keniensis 
(Meru oak)
1700 - 2200Deep volcanic,
red to loamy clay soil
Plantation/ natural
management system
Timber40 - 50 yrs

Trees suitable for Eco-Zone III - Highland region (800 -1400 mm rainfall) 

SpeciesAltitude (m)Soil TypeManagement SystemEnd UseRotation
Aberia caffra 
(Kei apple)
1400 - 2200Variable soilsHedge ManagementHedgeShort to long
Acacia xanthophloea1000 - 2000Riparian soilsMixed systemWater conservation, 
soil conservation ,
soil enrichment
Brachylaena huillensis 
200 - 1850Mainly red loamy
and sandy soils
Woodlot, mixed
enrichment system
Timber, fencing, 
Medium to long
(60 - 100 yrs)
Cupressus lusitanica1800 - 2500Well adaptable to 
variable highland soils
PlantationTimber/ hedge/ 
Short (25 -30 yrs)
Eucalyptus saligna/ grandis 
(Blue gum)
1400 - 2500Highland loamy soilsPlantation/ woodlots/ 
Fuel, poles, 
posts, fencing
Short (5 - 12 yrs - for poles) 
(15 -25 yrs - timber)
Jacaranda1600 -2500Variable soilsSingle tree managementAmenityShort
Juniperus procera 
1500 - 300Red loam to rocky 
shallow drained soils
Plantation/ woodlots/
Timber, posts,
fencing, protection
Medium to long
( 60 - 100 yrs)
Macheria tippu 
(Tipuana tipu)
1600 - 2000Red loams to black 
cotton soils
Plantation/ mixedTimberShort to medium (20 - 40 yrs)
Olea africana 
1600 - 2200Red clay loamy soilsMixed plantingBeams, posts, 
carvings, fencing, wood fuel
Long (80 - 120 yrs)
Podocarpus gracillor 
1800 - 2400Red to loamy clay 
and volcanic soils
mixed/ amenity
Timber, amenityMedium to long (50 - 80 yrs)
Pinus Patula1600 - 3000Adaptable to variable soils 
but poor in clay and 
water-logged soils
PlantationTimber and 
paper manufacture
Short (16 - 20 yrs - pulp)
( 25 - 30 yrs - timber)
Phoenix reclinata0 - 3000Swampy and riparian soilsMixed system, amenityWater conservation, 
basketry, ornamental
Medium to long
Prunus africanum 
1600 - 2500Highland red loamy 
to volcanic deep soils
Plantation/ mixed/ 
enrichment planting systems
TimberMedium to long
Schinus molle 
(Pepper tree)
1500 - 3000Variable red to 
cotton loamy soils
ornamental planting
Amenity, fuelShort (10 - 20 yrs)
Spathodea nilotica 
(Nandi flame)
1200 - 2200Variable SoilsAmenity systemAmenity-
Syzygium species1000 - 2500Swampy and 
riparian soils
Mixed system in
water courses
Water conservation, timberMedium to long


Trees suitable for Eco-Zone III - Lowlands (800 - 1400 mm rainfall) 

SpeciesAltitude (m)Soil TypeManagement SystemEnd UseRotation
Azadirachta indica 
0 - 1400Sandy to sandy-loamPlantation /mixedTimber, fuel, fencing,
amenity, medical
Borassus aethiopum 
(Borassus palm)
0 - 1400Variable but mainly riparianMixed systemsWater conservation, 
palm wine, basketry
Medium to long
Brancylaena huillensis 
200 - 1850Red loamy to clay loam sandy soilsMixture/ enrichment 
natural system
Timber, fuel, carvings, 
construction, fencing
Medium to long
Brachystegia spiciformis 
0 - 200Red loamy to clay loam sandy soilsMixture/ enrichment/
natural system
Timber, railway sleepersMedium to long ( 60 - 100 yrs)
Cassia siamea0 - 1400Sandy to sandy-loamPlantation/ mixedTimber, fuel, fencingShort
Chlorophora excelsa 
0 - 1400Red clay-loamy to sandy loamy soilsPlantation/ 
mixed systems
TimberShort to long
Dalbergia melanoxylon 
0 - 1400Variable, sandy to sandy - clayPlantation/ mixedTimber, fuel fencing, 
wood carving,
E. camaldulensis0 - 1400Red clay-loamy to
sandy-loamy soils
Plantation/ shelter-belt 
woodlot systems
Fuel, poles, 
Short (6-8 yrs)
E. europhylla0 - 1400Sandy to clay loamsPlantation/ woodlotsFuel, poles, postsShort (5 - 12 yrs)
Ficus sycomorus0 - 2000Riparian soilsMixed systemsWater conservation
medium to long
Gmelina arborea0 - 1400Sandy to sandy loam soilsPlantationTimber, paper, 
match box light construction
Short (15 - 25 yrs)
T. brownii 
0 - 1400Sandy to sandy/
clay loams
mixed plantings
Fuel, fodder, postsShort

Trees suitable for Eco-Zone IV (400-800 mm rainfall) 

SpeciesAltitude (m)Soil TypeManagement SystemEnd UseRotation
Acacia albida1000 - 14000Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/sandy soils
Mixed, woodlot, riverine plantingsFuel, polesShort
A. senegal 
(Gum arabicum)
1000 - 1400Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/ sandy soils
mixed enrichment
Fuel, poles, 
gum arabic production
Short (15 - 25 yrs)
Acacia plycantha1000 - 14000Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/ sandy soils
Mixed/ woodlot systemsFuel, polesShort
Acacia seyal1000 - 14000Sandy clay to 
sandy loam soils
Woodlot, mixed 
enrichment planting systems
Fuel, poles postsShort
Azadirachta indica 
0 - 14000Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/ sandy soils
Mixed/ enrichment planting systemTimber, fuel, poles, fodderShort
Balanites aegyptiaca500 - 1400Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/ sandy soils
enrichment planting system
Timber, fuelShort
C. megalocarpus 
1000 - 2000Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/ sandy soils
Woodlot/ mixed
enrichment systems
Fuel, agropolesShort to medium 
(15 - 25 yrs)
Dalbergia melanoxylon0 - 1400Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/ sandy soils
Woodlot/ mixed/
enrichment systems
Timber, fuel, poles, carvingsMedium to long
E. camaldulensis0 - 1400Sandy to sandy-clay soils
to riverine clay/ sandy soils
Plantation/ woodlot/ 
boundary plantings
Fuel, poles, postsShort (6 - 8 yrs)
Ficus sycomorus0 - 2000Riparian soilsMixed systemsWater conservationMedium to long


Trees suitable for Eco-Zone V-VI (under 400 mm rainfall) 

SpeciesAltitude (m)Soil TypeManagement SystemEnd UseRotation
A. Senegal 
(Gum arabicum)
1000 - 1400Sandy clay to 
sandy loam soils
Woodlot/ mixed
enrichment planting
Fuel, poles, 
gum arabicum
Cordia sinensis1000 - 1500Sandy clay to 
sandy loam soils
enrichment systems
Fuel, poles, fodderShort and medium
Hyhaena ciriacea 
(Doum palm)
0 - 1000Sandy riparian soilsMixed systemsWater conservation, 
Medium to long
Salvadora persica1000 - 1500Sandy clay to 
sandy loam soils
enrichment systems
soil protection, amenity
Short to medium
Syzyphus mauritiana1000 - 1500Sandy clay to 
sandy loam soils
Hedge planting
Life fencing, fruitsShort to medium


Information Source Links 

  • KEFRI (1990). A guide to tree planting in Kenya / Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) - Nairobi, Kenya - E-mail: - Tel. +254-0724-259781/2, +254-722-157414
  • Maundu, P. and Tengnas, B. (Eds)(2005). Useful trees and shrubs for Kenya. World Agroforestry Centre, Technical Handbook No.35. ISBN 9966-896-70-8.
  • KEFRI Seed catalogue. Download KEFRI seed catalogue click here