In the last ten years an infestation of the highly invasive Black willow has overtaken House Creek in Wodonga’s urban parks, all the way from Castle Creek Rd downstream through the centre of town.
Parklands rangers have been working in partnership with the Wodonga Urban Landcare Network and Council Parks and Gardens team to attack the problem, with a number of local projects on the go specifically aimed at weed treatment and revegetation in the riparian zone of the creek. The process is labour intensive, requiring hand ‘cut and paint’ treatment of these vigorous trees, chemical treatment of regrowth and removal of the woody debris. Some particularly thick areas have required heavy machinery to remove the willow and deal with dried piles.
Together we have made a significant difference in Ewart Brothers Reserve, Gordon Hartsman Park, David Winterbottom Park, Clyde Cameron Reserve, Willow Park, Gerard Moylan Park, Les Stone Park, Pam Stone Park and Belvoir Park. Community volunteers have participated in both weed removal and replanting as members of Wodonga Landcare’s Friends groups associated with these parks, and as part of our ranger led Parks Stewardship program. The Landmates team have cut out a huge amount of willow by hand over several years. Students have assisted with planting days, park clean-ups and mulching. Council have supported these activities and dealt with the mountains of woody debris created as trees are removed.
There is still a way to go to get on top of the problem, and it’s an ‘all hands on deck’ situation. Black willow is a very successful invader, growing from both seed and the smallest twig that floats downstream, reaching unmanageable heights within a few seasons. It blocks the creek bed, causing flood flows to divert to an easier path; eroding, undermining and creating havoc as it goes. (Read all about the damage willows cause and how to manage them here)
Pulling out the young seedlings by hand is the very best way to stop the spread of Black willows. If you would like to be part of the solution to stop the invasion of House Creek please contact us to join future stewardship mornings (currently suspended), or join – or even start – a ‘Friends’ stewardship group in your local park. Links to each are:
Wodonga Urban Landcare Network contact email@example.com
Together we do better!