May 2015 updates

Posted on May 27, 2015

  1. Giant willow aphid continues to thrive into late May. In contrast to last season the aphid has been reported as resurging in many locations following a noticeable decline in populations in early April. The long term impact of this aphid is still unknown as no predators or hyperparasites are yet apparent.
  2. The time for poplar and willow pole planting is upon us. Council nurseries will begin harvesting poles from the beginning of June. We encourage landowners to plant a mixture of clones to provide biodiversity and dilute the effects of rust disease.
  3. The severe drought in North Canterbury this summer is another reminder that we are living in unpredictable climatic times. Remember that willows and poplars can be significant fodder sources during drought conditions, but only if you have them growing on your farm.
  4. For their May meeting trustees of the NZ Poplar & Willow Research Trust met in Masterton. They were given a tour by Stan Braaksma (GWRC) of Akura poplar & willow nursery and a poplar field trial featuring a wide range of poplar clones. Demonstration plots of the different poplar and willow clones would be welcome in many regions.
  5. Trevor Freeman and Bill Dobbie report that willow sawfly was responsible for some localised defoliation of willows in Turihaua and Mangatuna in Gisborne District this summer. Another reminder that this pest is still active. Reports on pest activity is always welcome. Remember the benefits of willows outweigh the risks posed by willow sawfly and giant willow aphid.