This report is based on a 1991 article (LINK) and an interview with co-author Mr. Tony Svejcar. Mr. Svejcar was interviewed Wednesday May 1, 2002.
Scientists Scott Conroy and Tony Svejcar conducted a two-year study on willow planting and cattle grazing. This study was located at Cow, Freeman, and Grizzly creeks. There were three pastures fenced on each creek. They grazed cattle on the pastures, at the early, and late seasons. Then they left one ungrazed.
They planted willows in each of the pastures. The cuttings were planted on a transect line intersect system, spaced three meters apart. Then 10 meters, from the bank tops. There were 300 cuttings per pasture. The cuttings were stored at zero degrees Celsius for one month. They were then soaked for two days in water. This is a cold treatment, to stimulate the cuttings to grow. Over the year most cuttings survived the first growing season. Even in drought years willow cuttings were success fully established in moderately grazed pastures.
According to Mr. Sejcar the conclusions are: If you dont have a water table that is within one and one-half feet of the surface during the summer, it really wouldnt help if you planted willows. Also cows get bad reputations for eating willows, when deer and elk contribute to this. This report really hasnt been followed up.
Conroy and Svejcar 1991, Willow planting success as influenced by site factors and cattle grazing in northeastern California, IN: Journal of Range Management. Vol 44, No.1 : 59-63