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Willows and Poplar...or Native

WE DO NOT RECOMMEND POPLARS OR WILLLOWS as a choice for riparian sites.

The reasons are clear and have been staring land owners in the face for years.

Those entrusted with the care of our water-ways who work with land-owners (and who charge them rates) need to reflect, rethink and acknowledge that millions of dollars have in fact been wasted both in initial plantings, failure to manage those plantings, and failure to promote natives as a viable, effective alternative.

Let’s look at some evidence..

This is a typical ‘failure’ of the sort of plantings recommended by those in the industry who promote and sell willow and poplar poles.

Pictures 2 and 3 depict the next stage.  The bank subsides, taking with it the whole tree.  Or the branches grow across and/or into the stream; impeding the flow, holding back flood-borne debris, and forcing the current to scour out the opposite bank or to re-create a new channel, sometimes completely diverting a stream from its original course.

We now have the willows in the centre of the stream-bed! Where to now… for the flood water?  There is now no erosion protection at all and with the banks free of any protection there is little choice than for water to take the easiest course to the detriment of soil conservation; the very reason the willows were planted for in the first place.

The next 4 pictures depict a common enough scenario.

A 'failing' portion on the Mangahao River.

Naturally occurring natives in a wet valley.

Apart from the willow branch encroaching on the lower left corner of these pictures; this depicts the perfect choice of vegetation for lower stream-edge.  Plants which will flatten out in flood, allowing the water to slide by without disruption and which will – after several days of submersion – stand up again with no impediment to survival or function.

In addition to the much enhanced stream bank you will also notice the quality of the water in these pictures.  It is flowing through overhanging vegetation, there is no alga and the water is clear with no ‘froth’.

The two pictures above are examples of naturally-occurring native vegetation.
From small streams to larger waterways; Native Riparian Works!
Land & Habitat Consultancy will assist in every way to make it work for you.

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    Fax: 028 2553 6123
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