Are any willows native to Australia?
- Category: Questions about Willows
- Created: Wednesday, 27 February 2013 16:28
- Published: Wednesday, 27 February 2013 16:28
- Written by Webmaster
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Willows are only native to the Northern Hemisphere. Willows were originally introduced to Australia from Europe, Asia and North America for basket making, ornaments, stream stabilisation, commercial production like cricket bat production and shelter.
In this new environment and without their natural predators many willows have naturalised and are spreading rapidly and are causing significant problems for our waterways and wetlands. In the 1990's it was realised that the willows planted for bank stabilisation since the 1950's were spreading uncontrolled to areas they were not needed and in some cases were causing erosion rather then preventing it. They were also spreading by seed and infesting thousands of kilometres of sandy and gravel river beds because they were setting seed in periods of low flows in Australia instead of the periods of high flows as they would in the northern hemisphere.
In the Northern Hemisphere they occupy stream and river banks that have fast flowing water most of the year and so are confined to the river banks. In Australia where there are commonly low flows in summer they have been able to invade the stream beds and are deflecting flows onto the stream banks or being pushed over in periods of high flows adding to the problem of erosion.