Monday, May 16, 2011

Willows for wastewater treatment

On of many infected and dead willows

Infected willow now completely dead

Infected plant showing signs of die back

Healthy plant

There is much interest in the use of willows as part of the treatment sequence for single houses.  I have planted a small stand of the Common Osier Salix viminalis around the base of the percolation area from my septic tank. The objective is to encourage evapotranspiration during summer and to provide a barrier between the treatment area and the boundary of my property.  The stand is now about eight years old and last year many of the trees began to show signs of infection.  This year the infection (fungal) has spread and about a third of the trees have now died. Although I have replanted, I am concerned that this infection will spread. Has anyone else come across this problem?


  1. Hey there.

    I would like to know if you have more info on willow as a treatment source. Books would be great but web links would do just fine, if you have or any other info. I am doing my final project in school on this subject and I think it is a new area and a great idea. You could mail me on

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  3. This is fabulous.Great post!Thank you for sharing.Keep it up!!!

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  4. Hi Nick, I just saw your post from 2011 when I was looking for up to date feedback on the TCD willow research. I've been working with willows as a sewage treatment component since the mid 1996s in a fairly ad hoc way, and more carefully since 2008 with the Danish model for the zero discharge willow facility. I haven't seen any fungal infection on any trees we've used, nor in the systems we saw in Denmark a couple of years back.

    One issue I'd be wary about with respect to willows near septic tanks, is the potential for root ingress into pipe work and consequent clogging. Typically some sort of barrier mechanism is used. That said, we've got new trees growing relatively close to our septic tank and the growth rate on the ash trees there is about 2-4 times that of ash elsewhere in the garden - so evidently they have access to plentiful nutrients there.

    Did your new cuttings grow for you?

  5. Is there any further reading you would recommend on this?

    Amela Jones
    waste water services

  6. Willows, are green plants which require nutrients and water to grow. Various type of municipal waste products that are rich in nutrients or water can replace the need of conventional fertilisation and enhance growth.
    wastewater treatment