What are willows?

(Salix species, excluding S. babylonica, S. x calodendron and S. x reichardtii )

    Willows at Perth BridgeGeneric Weed Distribution Map
    • Willows are a serious environmental weed.
    • Willows are a declared weed in Tasmania under the Tasmanian Weed Management Act 1999. The importation, sale and distribution of willows are prohibited in Tasmania.


How to identify willows

  • The appearance of willows varies dramatically between species. For example, willows can be trees or shrubs, smooth or rough barked, long or short leaved, and have flexible or brittle branches. Most willow plants are either male or female.
  • If you are still in doubt about the weed you are dealing with, contact your Regional Weed Management Officer on 1300 368 550 for help.
Post willow removal along Jordan River Willow strike
Image top: Willows near Perth Bridge
Images above left to right: Post willow removal along the Jordan River, willow strike


Willows in Tasmania

  • Willows are a very complex plant group. There are a large number of willow species occurring in Tasmania, including many hybrid species (hybrids are a cross between two closely related species).
  • Of the naturalised taxa, crack willow (S. fragilis var. fragilis) is the most common. It is widely distributed and abundant in the north, east and south. Only male crack willow plants occur in Tasmania.
  • A number of willow taxa not occurring in Tasmania present a large threat due to their weed history on the Australian mainland (eg. S. nigra). There is also a risk that male crack willow will hybridise with other more localized willow species in Tasmania which include female plants, leading to hybrid plants that can then spread by viable seed.
  • Willows are a serious weed of riparian (riverside) habitats in Tasmania. Willows can choke waterways, increase erosion and silting, reduce water availability, and damage aquatic habitats for fauna and flora.


What is the legal status of willows in your area?

  • The legal responsibilities of landholders and other stakeholders in dealing with willows are laid out in the willow Statutory Weed Management Plan.
  • In Tasmania, the widespread crack willow forms a special case and is considered separately in the willow Statutory Weed Management Plan. See Table 1 (Zone A municipalities: crack willow) and Table 3 (Zone B municipalities: crack willow) to find out whether your area falls in an eradication or containment zone for crack willow. See also Table 2 (Zone A municipalities: non-crack willow) to find out whether willow species other than crack willow occur in your municipality.
Detailed management and control guidelines for willows in Tasmania can be found in the DPIPWE Willow Control Guide and Herbicides for Willow Control. Refer also to the Weeds of National Significance - Willows Management Guide for more detailed management information on willows. For further information see DPIPWE's Weed Links and Resources on this site.


See also:

Willow Control Guide
Herbicides for Willow Control
Weeds of National Significance - Willows Management Guide
Statutory Management Plan for Willows
Useful Weed Resources

Other useful links:

Pest Genie
Weeds in Australia - Weed Management Guide

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    To the extent permitted by law, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (including its employees and consultants) excludes all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using information or material (in part or in whole) contained on this website.

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