Willows and Alders

Willows and Alders

If you’ve got willows or alders on your land, and you’re not sure of the best way to get rid of them, or you might like the look of them and feel they are performing an important role, what should you do?

This guide will help you unravel this potentially confusing subject.

'Willows and Alders: Best practice guidelines for Willow and Alder control for riparian restoration for the Waikato' draws upon the experience of a range of people with a good working knowledge of Willow and Alder management, including wetland ecologists, flood management experts, Regional and District Councils, DOC, CRI scientists, industry, river users and Waikato-Tainui.

The guide kicks off with general information about willows and alders, before going into details about their effects, management options, and finally how best to control or plant them. Laid out in a clear informative manner with plenty of valuable photos and illustrations, this guide has been created to make the information needed to make the management of willows and alders as clear as possible.

'Best Practice Guidelines for Willow and Alder Control for Riparian Restoration for the Waikato River' was funded by the Waikato River Authority and developed in partnership between the NZ Landcare Trust and the Waikato Raupatu River Trust (Waikato-Tainui).

Latest Community Thinking

Discussion around how best to manage willows and alders is ongoing. The creation of this guide has helped focus a range of ideas and practical steps into one place. The community have already responded with further ideas that might be helpful.

If willows are cut back to below the water surface, they don't grow back! This could be another useful control option if you are looking to remove willow.

Allan George is credited with first identifying this approach. Allan owned a maimai at the eastern end of Lake Koromatua. As part of a willow removal plan (started in 2000) he undertook to remove all the willows near his maimai. His method was to wait until mid to late summer (January to March) and wade out in the lake cutting the willow trees as close to the water level as possible. He didn't use any poison on the tree stumps. Over winter and spring the water level in the lake was above the cut tree stumps and they failed to regenerate. One theory is that the poor water quality of the lake prevented light penetrating to the depth of the stumps and therefore prevented spring regrowth typical of cut willow stumps. Allan successfully used this method to clear about 100m of the eastern shoreline of Lake Koromatua.

If you have any thoughts or experiences that you would like to contribute to the discussion, or would like a printed copy of the guide, please email the NZ Landcare Trust Regional Coordinator Nardene Berry - [email protected]

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