As part of the Council’s assistance programme to landowners, we run a small nursery to provide willow and poplar planting material that can be used for stream bank, gully and hillside stabilization.
Poplar varieties are available including:
Willows variety include:
Poplars can be grown for a number of uses, including shade and feed. The nutritional value of poplar and willow leaf is well recognised. Their feed value is reasonable and the presence of condensed tannins is thought to contribute to the increase in lambing percentage by helping the ewes use the protein in feed they receive more efficiently.
Harvesting of poplars is carried out during the months of May, June, July. Once the poles are harvested they are stood in water for a minimum of 10 days to aid their establishment before being delivered to the planting site. Planting can be carried out until the end of August.
For planting where erosion control of streams and gullies is the major purpose the Council does provide financial assistance and expertise for approved works. This generally entails providing the planting material at no charge.
Many native plants can be used for erosion control. Their growth rate is slower than some of the exotics such as poplars but they can provide greater biodiversity and aesthetic values.
Landcare Research has currently completed studies on what native plants might be suitable for stream bank management. They looked at a number of colonizing plants such as kowhai, lemonwood and five finger I.e. plants that are easy to propagate, have fast growth rates and robust root systems. The study showed that the end of the trial, at age 5, cabbage tree was a top performer for a number of growth attributes. Tutu and ribbonwood weren’t far behind. Obviously there might be some other issues such as animal health that need to be taken into consideration when selecting species. More information can be found on the Motueka Integrated Catchment Management websites:
It is also important to select plants that suit your site and locality to ensure sucessful establishment and to enhance the local biodiversity.