Planting & Care
Willow really are very easy plants to grow and to propagate, and all our willow come with detailed planting and care instructions. The most important thing is firstly to make sure that you plant at the right time of the year, and secondly to ensure that you keep the weeds down. Don’t forget, some varieties are very vigorous and their roots will search out water so never plant willow too close to any building or other structure. Most of our willow is supplied as cuttings around 10-12" long which will arrive with you ready for planting.
For more detail have a look at our YouTube films on planting willow cuttings and on pruning and coppicing your willow. Click on the links below.
Willow Cultivation from Rods and Cuttings
Get your timing right!
You need to make sure that you plant your rods and cuttings whilst the willow are resting over the winter, that way they get the best chance to establish a strong set of roots before they start producing buds and leaves in the spring. We plant between December and Mid March and get around a 98% success rate. You can plant until the end of April, make sure that the cuttings have not started to leaf, and providing you water well you will get some good results. Remember though, the later you leave it the harder it will be for your cuttings to establish. By early May we would expect our success rate to have dropped to around 45-50%.
Keep out the weeds!
Keeping weeds at bay is absolutely essential. Although willow grow strongly they are no match, even for grass, when they are young. If you use mulch matting then it will continue to benefit the plants for several years until they are well established. We use a woven mulch matting and secure it with specially made pegs. The matting that we use and supply is also marked with handy squares that make it easier to get your spacing right!
Pop them in!
It is then simply a case of making a hole through your matting of the right size for your cutting, checking your cutting is the right way up, and popping it in. You can then sit back for a few weeks and await the results! If the ground is particularly hard or stoney then use a metal rod or similar to make a hole down into the soil for the cutting, then just pop it in..
When you are calculating how many plants you need we suggest that you plant most of our willow varieties no closer than 30cm (1 foot) apart. If you are planting the more vigorous hedging, windbreak or fuel varieties then look to a spacing of around 1m (3 feet) between plants for best results.
Your Willow will benefit from regular coppicing. If you cut them back each year or so to within 3cm of the base it will encourage the root system to develop, strengthen the wonderful winter colours, and cause the root stock to thicken, encouraging new growth from the base. If you are growing a screen or hedge it is a good idea to plant a double row so that you can prune them alternate years, keeping your screen or windbreak in place. Alternatively, they all make fabulous trees so why not let some of them fulfil their potential and grow to full height?
Erosion control using willow spiling
One of the oldest forms of erosion control using willow, willow spiling is a popular way of stabilising a bank that is next to water. It involves weaving live willow rods between live willow stakes set into the bank at regular intervals. These woven ‘walls’ can hold back the banks and as the willow grows, the roots form a dense root mat that binds the bank together, making it stronger and preventing future erosion. Willow spiling might be a solution for you it you have an eroding bank that is in a sunny place and do not want to install a hard landscaping solution. We here at World of Willow are not specialists in this area so click here for more information from some friends of ours at JPR environmental on both the supply and installation of spiling material: JPR erosion control