Is willow spiling for you?
We receive many enquiries from people concerned about erosion on their property and asking if willow spiling will be a solution for their problem.
The checklist below should help you decide whether willow spiling is for you.
JPR is able to:
supply materials nationwide
install small-scale spiling in Gloucestershire and surrounding counties
install large-scale spiling (more than 50m in length) nationwide
Q. Is your bank shaded by trees or buildings?
A. If your bank is shaded, it is unlikely that willow will grow as it needs plenty of sun to thrive (it is the roots of the willow spiling, growing into the bank that gives it stability).
Q. Is the area of erosion on your bank often below water level?
A. If the eroded area that needs the most attention is below the water level a combination of materials may be needed.
Q. How high is your bank?
A. If the eroded area is more than 1m high, any willow spiling will need to be installed in tiers. A bank higher than 1m does not exclude the use of willow spiling but it will add to the cost.
Q. What is your reason for trying to stop your bank eroding?
A. Erosion control solutions are complex and therefore not cheap. If you are addressing the erosion control purely for aesthetic reasons, the costs may simply not be worth it. If, however, you are worried about losing land or damage to buildings, then spending on willow spiling may well be very cost effective compared to other solutions.
Q. How much money do you have to spend?
A. As mentioned above, erosion control solutions are complex and therefore not cheap. For JPR to install willow spiling on any stretch of bank would cost at least £2,000 to £3,000 as a minimum. JPR also supply willow spiling material so it might be possible for you to install your own spiling.
Q. Do you need Environment Agency permission to install spiling?
A. Most erosion control along water courses requires EA permission but, if you appoint JPR to install your spiling, we can apply for the necessary consent from the EA.
Q. Do you need to deal with your erosion problem immediately?
A. Willow spiling is generally installed from November until the end of April when the willow is not in leaf. However, it will take time to obtain Environment Agency permission to work on a water course – typically, 2-3 months for a small scheme (the EA is very sympathetic to soft engineering solutions). Any project would need to be started as early in the winter as possible.
Q. Do you want to keep the bank clear for other planting?
A. Willow spiling works when the willow grows well and puts its roots into the bank – thereby binding it together. Willow is a thirsty plant, which once established will usually out compete other plants and can put on 2m of growth each year. However, you can keep growth down by cutting back during the winter.
Q. Is the bank stony or does it include soil?
A. Willow is a tree and as such needs to put down tree roots (with willow spiling, this is what is binding the bank together). If your bank consists primarily of rocks and stones, willow spiling is unlikely to be suitable.
Willow spiling can be a very successful way of controlling bank erosion on a water course. It is a soft-engineering solution, which is usually more cost effective than a hard engineering option. It can be installed in places with limited access and it creates an attractive bank for years to come.
If from working through the checklist above you think that spiling could be for you, please do email us some images of your bank, showing as much of the erosion problem as possible, with the length of the bank that is eroding and what the difference between the high and low water levels are (if known).
Click our spiling materials page for a guide to the bundles and stakes available.