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Ideally, riparian buffers should be designed using a diversity of trees, shrubs, grasses and forbs, but ones specifically suited to inclusion in these zones.

The selection of plants, how they are laid out and maintained will vary depending on site conditions.  Plants selected for locations closest to the water should be able to survive periods of total immersion, and, of course, any of the plants selected should have root systems suited to such applications.

  • Size – Large Tree
  • Elevation Range – Low – Mid
  • Root Type – Shallow and Fibrous
  • Riparian Area – Transitional
  • Flood Tolerance – Medium
  • Drought ToleranceBlack Cottonwood – Medium
  • Size – Small Tree
  • Elevation Range – Low – Mid
  • Root Type – Shallow to Deep
  • Riparian Area – Overbank – Transitional
  • Flood Tolerance – Low
  • Drought Tolerance – HighBlack Hawthorn
  • Size – Small Tree
  • Elevation Range – Low – Mid
  • Root Type – Rhizomatous
  • Riparian Area – Transitional
  • Flood Tolerance – Low
  • Drought Tolerance – Low – MediumChokecherry
 

  • Size – Small – Medium Tree
  • Elevation Range – Mid – High
  • Root Type – Shallow Spreading
  • Riparian Area – Bank – Overbank
  • Flood Tolerance – Medium
  • Drought Tolerance – Low

Mountain Alder

  • Size – Medium Tree
  • Elevation Range – Mid – High
  • Root Type – Shallow Spreading
  • Riparian Area – Transitional
  • Flood Tolerance – Low
  • Drought Tolerance – MediumQuaking Aspen
  • Size – Medium Shrub
  • Elevation Range – Middle
  • Root Type – Shallow Spreading
  • Riparian Area – Bank – Transitional
  • Flood Tolerance – High
  • Drought Tolerance – MediumRedosier Dogwood
  • Size – Medium Tree
  • Elevation Range – Low – Mid
  • Root Type – Moderately Spreading
  • Riparian Area – Transitional
  • Flood Tolerance – High
  • Drought Tolerance – HighRocky Mountain Maple
  • Size – Small – Medium
  • Elevation Range – Low – Mid
  • Root Type – Shallow to Deep
  • Riparian Area – Bank – Transitional
  • Flood Tolerance – Low
  • Drought Tolerance – Low – HighWoods Rose

Examples of Root Depths.  The deeper root systems help with erosion.
roots

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