The Uses of Willow

Willow is used in many different ways...

Basketry is the first thing that comes to mind but Willow can be planted to create living fences / fedge or windbreaks for particularly windy areas. Living structures create areas of interest in lansdscaping, or for children to enjoy such as wigwams, tunnels, arches or bird watching hideouts.

Willow can be woven to create Willow Hurdles and used to screen-off less attractive areas of the garden / farm or as fence panels.

There is growing interest in woodland craft and basketry skills as well as conservation and ecological issues. From that point the plantation is very important for a number of reasons:

  • It is a renewable source of energy which is environmentally beneficial.
  • The willows take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and replace it with oxygen.
  • The plantation attracts a wealth of insect life, which in turn attracts lots of different birds & wildlife.

Willow Tree Varieties

Varieties / Species and uses
Salix Viminalis Gigantea Very fast growing - long and straight.
Good for large structures, windbreaks, hurdle uprights etc.
Salix Triandra Viminalis ST2481/55 Very fast growing - long and straight.
Good for Large structures, Windbreaks, hurdles
Salix Dasyclados

Very vigorous slightly shorter but thicker than Viminalis.
Suitable for structures, windbreaks, fuel production.

Salix Tora Very vigorous growth - Swedish.
Suitable for structures, windbreaks and fuel production.
Salix Jorr Vigorous growth - Swedish.
Suitable for structures windbreaks and fuel production.
Salix alba Vitelina Ornamental golden willow.
Suitable for hedging, windbreaks and basketry.
Salix Triandra Black Maul Warm chestnut brown colour.
Suitable for hurdles, basketry and weaving in to structures for colour.
Salix Triandra Q83 Super Willow- (hybrid of viminalis and triandra) has the vigorous growth of viminalis with the weaving qualities of triandra. Attractive medium brown stems, catkins.
Suitable for hurdles, basketry and weaving into living structures.
Salix Purpurea Leentges Suitable for basketry and hedging.
Salix Purpurea Helix Suitable for basketry and hedging.
Salix Purpurea Nicholsonii Purpurescens Suitable for basketry and hedging.
Salix Purpurea Abbeys Suitable for basketry.
Salix Purpurea Dicky Meadows Suitable for basketry.

Uses of Willow

Site Preparation for living structures

The success of Living Willow Structures/Fedges is usually due to site preparation and careful planting along with maintenance. Sculptures and fedges change with the seasons and years. They require a small amount of maintenance if they are to keep their shape. New growth can be simply woven into the design or trimmed.

The amount of site preparation depends on the size and scale of the project. Regardless of the scale of planting weed control is needed in the first one to two years of growth whilst the root system is established. These new hybrid fast growing clones are quick rooting and easy to establish and suited to most types of soil.


Ideal planting time is February to March.
Plough, dig or rotovate the soil to a depth of 12”/30cm. An alternative for small areas is to plant through plastic sheeting or water permeable woven polythene to suppress weeds.

The willow rods/cuttings are easy to plant by simply pushing into holes previously made with “Derby Dibber” or metal rod, to a depth of approximately 12 inches. The young willow needs to be protected from rabbits.

Please contact us if you require further information.

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