I have fond memories spending time in my grandmother’s backyard climbing willow trees, hiding from the summer heat and, swinging from the vine-like branches.
Flash forward years later: we now have a few acres with a beautiful wetland along one border – with a stand of willows next to a dam, but unfortunately in this ecosystem willows are classified as invasive weeds!
According to the Federal Environment department, http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/ most species of willow are designated Weeds of National Significance. They are among the worst weeds in Australia because of their invasiveness, potential for spread, and economic and environmental impacts. They have invaded riverbanks and wetlands in temperate Australia, occupying thousands of kilometres of streams and numerous wetland areas
In order to further improve our wetland and provide a wildlife corridor it is important to deal with the willow infestation in one section of wetland.
As part of our wetland restoration we used Daniel Brindley, www.aww.com.au and Melbourne Water rural consultants http://www.melbournewater.com.au/education to start the process. Once we got through many metres of blackberry Daniel identified a number of rare wetland plants including Coral Fern, Batwings Fern and Hazel Pomaderris.
Tackling willow infestation is a multi-year effort. it is easiest to first kill the trees by ring-barking and poisoning then return after the tree is dead to remove it. Pulling out live trees has drawbacks because you are likely to leave roots behind and these roots will sprout further willow saplings.
We pulled the dead trees, but also ripped out a couple of live willow stands and a few fallen willow trunks that had not responded to poisoning, to get the bulk of the willow removed. This will now be followed up with our expert Daniel returning to conduct spot poisoning and sapling removal over the next couple of years.
The combination of carrying out this work with mates and input and support from wetland experts was the best mix for us economically.
At anderida, www.anderida.com.au we want to leave the property in better shape than when we arrived, home to native and rare plant species that will attract and support native birds and animals.
The Mornington Peninsula is a fabulous place close to Melbourne where you can enjoy nature. Staying at anderida accommodation you can access nature with a everything form a short “latte stroll” past vineyards to a cafe, to the two bays trail for real enthusiasts. Check out some walk resources here: http://www.visitmorningtonpeninsula.org/PlacesToGo/Walks