Crack Willow

Northern temperate regions

General description

Deciduous tree <25m high. Trunk roots at nodes when laid down, forming bright red rootlets. Branchlets break off easily with an audible ‘crack’. Shiny, green lanceolate, alternate leaves. Flowers Sep - Oct.

Riverbanks, lakesides, drainage canals, other wet places.

Brittle, easily broken shoots which grow easily. Doesn’t seed.

Aggressive willow, forming dense stands in rivers and drains totally excluding native vegetation and blocking waterways.

Site management

Do not fell unless able to dispose of plant material; best to poison standing, to avoid live stem contact with ground. Begin control at top of catchment, treat every stem. Prevent grazing & other disturbance. Interplanting can follow if non-spray follow-up control options used. Discourage use & replace with native alternatives.

Recommended approaches

1. Hand pull small plants taking care to remove all parts.
2. Cut or drill every 100 mm around trunk diameter and fill each cut/hole (10ml glyphosate or 2 ml metsulfuron at 20g/1L) summer-autumn
3. Frill (feather cut bark) and paint (100ml glyphosate/1L or metsulfuron at 20g/L) summer - autumn.
4. At full leaf stage spray (125ml glyphosate + 20ml penetrant/10L). Ensure full coverage.

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

grey willow
Salix cinerea

Grey willow is a much shorter tree which has smaller and more oval leaves. These are glossy on top and grey-bluish colour below with soft grey hairs. Grey willow has dark red-brown buds whereas crack willow buds are yellow, pale green or brown.

Search tags

RPMS status

Surveillance - Whole Region
National Pest Plant Accord species - nationwide
crack willow - Main species image