22 May 2009

That's a rather big weed...

| johnboy
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The NCA have announced that they’re going to be chain-sawing all the willows downstream of Scrivener Dam for 200 metres. (Also blackberry and something called “black alders” which sound rather cool)

In a masterful piece of spin though they’re selling it as “removing woody weeds”.

I appreciate the arguments made against willows (for all I think we need to get over it and just enjoy them, possibly I read too much Kenneth Grahame as a child), and I’m not going to campaign against maintenance of essential infrastructure, but maybe when we’re talking about cutting down trees we should just call it that?

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I remember working there for a week over the Christmas holidays, early 1970’s, when I worked for Roads and Bridges. Simpler times. The Public Service used to take on students for the University Holidays. The woody weeds we cut down then were on sandbanks in the river bed that could have caused problems if the lake flooded.

i agree….kill all willows….cept me of course

I actually like being able to see the Molonglo in front of Duntroon there where they got rid of all those willows…..

What’s wrong with the chainsaw approach?

I was always a fan of the tit-willow.

Crack Willows? Pussy Willows? Woody Weeds?

Someone is having a lend here 🙂

They need to extablish plantings of desirable trees before nuking all the willows. Otherwise you get erosion of teh banks, nowehre for the platypuses to live etc.

In Bungendore, teh landcare people successfully prevented the council from nuking the willows on Turello Creek: instead Landcare did some plantings, using the willows as nursery trees, they protect the new plantings while they establish. Once the new trees are growing, THEN the willows get removed.

I didn’t think black alders were a weed? I tried to grow some at my place, and the wind did for them, they died by inches over some years.

The willow is a suppression-ordered pest species whose intentional propgation or supply is prohibited (as defined by the Pest Plants and Animals Act 2005 section 7 (by my reading)), and so have specific pest management plans for ALL species of willow, except for the permitted species:
Salix babylonica (Babylonian Weeping Willow)
Salix x calodendron (Pussy Willow)
Salix x reichardtii (Sterile Pussy Willow)

The others are just choking up the river, so the NCA can do whatever the hell they like to them.

And what is being called Black Alder locally is Alnus glutinosa, according to TAMS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alnus_glutinosa

Pommy bastard10:51 am 22 May 09

Does this mean the price of cricket bats will come down soon?

That’s no spin…willows really are “woody weeds”.

Gungahlin Al10:08 am 22 May 09

No sympathy for willows here, much the same as the dreaded camphor laurels in SE Qld.

However, there is a way to go about their removal, and the blitzkrieg method is not it. The visual change will guarantee public backlash, the ground disturbance will guarantee erosion and siltation, and the bird species are left homeless.

They’ve been there for years, so take some time about their removal. Plant replacement species in between (after a bit of thinning out if required). After those get established, then crank up the chainsaws. Then immediately move in with additional trees and understorey plantings.

And I can’t see the purpose of culling them on the cusp of winter, when growth is almost dormant. To ensure no regrowth, you need to drill and inject during a vigorous growth period.

Lastly, where public access is less of an issue, it can be better to poison the trees and leave them standing for a while after they die – this provides a roost for birds, who will then drop other fruit seeds and thereby aid further species propogation. Not always suitable though – particularly if the local fruiting species are also ferals.

The problem with all of this is that it takes a long-term perspective – government agencies don’t tend to work that way.

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