Photo by Julian Dik, Willows in Spain

Willow Trees – A Sustainable Way To Treat Wastewater

A recent article on Popular Science discusses how willows can help filter water. The trees not only filter waste, but benefit from the extra nutrients.

“We are pretty convinced that wastewater can be efficiently treated [with willow trees],” – Frédéric Pitre, one of the senior authors of the study and a professor at the Université de Montréal

You can read more on how willow trees can be a sustainable way to treat wastewater here.

Did you know that Salix means “willow” in Latin?  One reason Dirt Time’s John McCullah named his company “Salix Applied Earthcare” is because John has seen the “healing effects from willow”. Willow is, after all, from what aspirin is derived – Salicylic Acid! He even reports willow bioengineering projects, implemented by very culturally diverse workforces, which seemed to result in successful cooperation and camaraderie!

John McCullah has an AA degree in Biology and a BS in Watershed Geology. He is a CA licensed contractor since 1990 and has been performing erosion control and restoration work for over 25 years. He has designed and built many environmentally sensitive river and stream projects from California to Alaska, Alberta Canada to New Zealand. He has included willow in many erosion control and bioengineering projects. While heavily invested in teaching, training, and coaching others, John also offers contract work or consulting services.

In 2005 Salix Applied Earthcare completed 3 yrs research project sponsored by the Transportation Research Board and the National Academy of Science to compile and develop guidance for Fed and State Highway Engineers stymied by the environmental barriers to using rip rap exclusively. The result of this research is a digital manual presenting over 50 alternatives to rock – at least 20 techniques show how willow and rock (or large woody debris) and willow can be combined in a mutually reinforcing manner. See ESenSS – re-published by Salix Applied Earthcare

Learning resources on how you can utilize willow in your bioengineering projects:


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Blogs, Projects, and more that utilized willow

INNOVATIVE Vegetated Mechanically Stabilized Earth (VMSE) Structure

New Zealand & John – Pt 2

Three Stream Projects in Three Weeks !! First one – COW CREEK

Project # 20 – Lower Sulphur Creek ( A Chapter from Bioengineering Case Studies) would like to thank our sponsors:


Profile, Solutions for your Environment

Finn, Smarter Ways to Work

Rolanka International, Inc., The True Green Solution

Filtrexx, Sustainable Technologies

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