Site Preparation

An ideal soil would be a good moist loamy one, but Willow will do well in most soil conditions. For best results, the site should be dug over and fertiliser/manure added.  If the soil has a tendency to dry out quickly organic matter should be added.  We have a heavy clay soil which we have improved with farmyard manure where the willow beds have been planted and they grow very well. Planting through an appropriate membrane or good mulch will help in weed control later on but is not essential. Tree guards can be used if you have a particularly bad problem with hares, rabbits or deer.

Short unrooted cuttings should be pushed into the prepared soil to approximately half their length.  It is normally quite easy to see which way up they should be by studying the side "eyes" but, for convenience, we cut one end at an angle (this end should be in the soil).  Planting distances depend on the vigorousness of the variety and the density required but we would recommend that cuttings for hedges be planted 18" to 36 " apart (see descriptions for strength of growth) with willow specifically intended to be harvested for weaving material being planted 24" apart in blocks for thin straight rods. A double or triple row of planting will provide a much denser windbreak or screen much more quickly.                                                                                     

Unrooted cuttings 'as planted' in  February

This photograph shows the amount of growth you can expect to have

on your unrooted cuttings by early Spring.

Willows   Walgrave Northampton NN6 9QA

01536 791371                       E-mail

"Lunar Willow growing and Harvesting"

According to 'Old Wives Tales' it is best to harvest rods for weaving under a waning moon - and willow grows best when cuttings are planted on a waxing moon!   Apparently the planting rule has been found to be true when tested  -  each year we mean to do a trial but pressures of time mean we always forget  - why don't you try it?

NB: Willow as a tree must be planted carefully, and the general rule is that it

should be planted one and half times its final height away from buildings etc.

Weaving material

Cuttings grown for weaving material require regular annual cutting to produce a good supply of long flexible rods.  Weaving rods should be cut in winter as per for cuttings, but cannot be used straightaway and need to dry (season) before use as they are too pliable when 'green' and any close woven work will dry to be too loose and 'gappy'. Cut willow rods should be stored for a few weeks in a dry airy spot and will need to be soaked in a tank/bath/ pond for around a week before use. 

Living Willow  -  Cuttings

-  How to grow them.

Unrooted Cuttings should ideally be 'planted' immediately upon receipt, however, if this is not possible, store them upright in a few inches of water in a cool, dark airy frost-free location or heel in in some moist soil/peat.  If they are stored so long in water that roots start to form then it is advisable to cut off that section as such roots are quite fragile and may be damaged when planted out.

Having said all this willow is very tough and determined to survive.  Cuttings that have lain around for days/weeks without protection will still generally root easily, and 'sticks' pushed into the ground upside down to act as markers even rooted!!! 

We would recommend, however, that

the more careful approach is taken for

maximum growth!!!



How to grow Willow from Cuttings

Living Willow Structures

Kits for Living Willow Structures

Teachers & Parents ordering for SCHOOLS

Description of Willow Varieties

Prices of Cuttings and Long Whips

How to Order

Order Form

How to make a Wigwam

How to make a Playhouse/Bower

More Willow

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Weeds must be controlled for the first year or so and the cuttings must be kept well-watered.  After the first year's growth the willow should be cut (ie during December to February) to ensure more/dense growth in the next year. If you wish to retain a screen or windbreak you could just cut half of the stems. Cutting each year ensures growth of good straight rods and, of course, if you are growing for winter colour, then stem colour is best on one year old growth.  NB stem colour can vary slightly on different soil types and in different amounts of sun.  Leaf litter from the trees provides their own fertiliser. Willow cuttings will start to sprout new growth in March/April. 

This photograph shows the new growth  on Salix Viminalis 'Bowles Hybrid' cuttings in late May - 18 months after  planting.

The first years growth was cut right down to encourage denser growth.

All  growth above the bare stem was from the new season ie up to 4 ft long whips still early in the growing season.

But you might not want to use cuttings just for a barrier or a windbreak

Click Here to go to 'Ideas for Structures using Cuttings'


Offering willow grown in Northamptonshire.
From Willows Nursery, Walgrave, Northampton, NN6  9QA.

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