- Living willow structures: introduction
- Living willow structures – grow your own gazebo, arches and pergolas
- You’ll be amazed how simple it is to grow your own living willow structure
- Preparations for living willow structures
- Planting living willow structures
- Different designs for living willow structures
- 2. A living willow fedge
- 3. A living willow wigwam or dome
- 4. Maintenance and aftercare for living willow structures
- Sourcing willow whips
- Other useful articles about living willow structures and fedges
- What is the problem with willows?
- How to Make a Willow Hurdle
- Living Willow Structure Kits
Living willow structures: introduction
“It is easy and fun to create willow hedges, bowers, dens, arbours and walkways. For the more adventurous, wigwams, chairs and sofas would be challenging projects. You can make garden rooms, create childrens’ play areas and provide privacy more quickly than with a more traditional hedge.” – Royal Horticultural Society
What are living willow structures?
Willow is a most amazing plant. You can cut off a length, stick it in the ground, and it will grow. You can stick it in the ground horizontally and it will root downward and shoot upward. You can even stick it in the ground upside down and it will take! It grows incredibly quickly, making it a prime candidate for a lot of research into use for biomass burning. It also loves water, and therefore can be planted in very wet ground, where other plants would not thrive.
A living willow dome in summer; you can build them any size, and your kids will love you for it. photo © Julie Starks.
Its uses seem endless. Living willow has been used as an artistic medium, creating living sculptures for example. Many community gardens and allotment projects have created structures for practical reasons; to give shade, to sit on, act as a wind-break or to screen off various areas by making a ‘fedge’. A fedge is a cross between fence and hedge; a sort of living fence.
Living willow archways – good for aesthetics, shade and plant support – are a great favourite with schools. Children can take part in planting the rods in the winter months and watch as their forlorn little sticks transform into lush green creations in the spring of that same year. And dried, the whips of the willow are widely used in the making of countless things including baskets, wreaths, shelters and paper lanterns.
What are the benefits of living willow structures?
Creating structures with willow is easy to do yourself and doesn’t cost very much; nothing in fact if you have your own source of willow. It can be extremely satisfying, but can also provide valuable educational opportunities.
It’s also a resource – you can harvest new growth as whips to make baskets etc. Plus willow structures can provide height very quickly if needed in your garden.
From an environmental perspective, as your structure is alive, it will absorb carbon from the atmosphere; it doesn’t involve any factories or manufacturing processes, and doesn’t require any creosote or other toxic preservatives – unlike your common or garden fences, seats or arbors. It’s prettier than a fence, too.
It also provides a habitat (and food) for wildlife, and its leaves enrich the soil (or your compost heap) every year.
Weaving the lattice structure for the sides of a living willow tunnel; the rods have been planted through a sheet of Mypex ground cover.
What can I do?
Willow needs to be harvested in the colder months. This is because the sap is down at this time of year, and it is this sap which makes them brittle. Remember – if it’s sappy, it’s snappy! Professional growers cut from the beginning of December through until March, so plan to create your structure in the colder months. Pick your variety with care. A firm favourite is salix viminalis but for added interest, you can select by stem colour. There are greens, browns, silvers, purples, oranges, reds and yellows to choose from.
It’s pretty cheap to buy willow and the beauty is that once you have some of the right variety, it doesn’t take long to grow some of your own to harvest.
Consider your site carefully. If you are building your structure on an allotment, remember that if you plant it too close to your vegetables it will compete with them for nutrients and water. Likewise, if you don’t clear an area of turf on a lawn where you are about to put your structure, it’s possible (but not certain) that the grass immediately surrounding the base will yellow due to water shortage. Also if you plant very close to a wall, roots have been known to cause structural damage. Willows have very large tap roots, so be careful not to plant them over water or sewage pipes. And remember, willow is a living thing, so will not do well in the shade of another tree. In general, create a willow structure as far away from anything else as is practical.
2-year-old willow rods, 1-year old growth (middle) and young whips (left) with a sheet of Mypex.
The other thing to consider up front is what mulch you will use. Old hessian-backed carpet is fine, as is cardboard (though this can be fiddly). A ground cover called Mypex is also widely used. This is woven polypropylene (plastic) which allows the penetration of rain water whilst preventing loss via evaporation. It is also excellent at suppressing weeds, which will act as competition to your willow. Mypex is more effective and easier to use, but if you want your structure to be as green as possible, then biodegradable carpet or cardboard is for you. Once the project is planted, the mulch can then be covered by wood chips, sand, compost or other material you might have to hand.
When you are ready to start, clear a strip 60cm wide along the length of where you wish to plant, so competition (weeds, grass etc.) is reduced to a minimum. Large willow rods, which will be about 2 years old when cut, will provide structure. They can be put in every metre or so, and need to go down to a depth of about 30cm. Use a spike to make a pilot hole, then trim about a centimetre off the bottom of your rod. Make it an angled cut – about 45 degrees – so there is a point at the end. Then place your rod very firmly in the hole, and tread round the area to firm up. Plant rods in pairs at the desired width apart, and then wind and tie the tips together at the height you want your arch to be. Further structure is then added by tying the individual arches together.
Inserting a window into a fedge – made from 2 whips wound around each other and tied off with a third one; all ties can be done with willow rather than string or twine.
For a fedge, space between the larger rods is filled with smaller ones which will be a year old when cut. These are planted about 15cm or a hand-span apart, 15cm deep and at a 45 degree angle, then woven in and out of each other to create a self-supporting lattice shaped arrangement. The tips are then twisted and wound together. Any additional tying off can be done with little willow whips, which are bendy enough to act just like string. And remember, willow is a natural thing, so you don’t have to be too preoccupied with straight lines! A meandering fedge, or one that undulates can look far more interesting that a straight or symmetrical one. All sorts of shapes can be created this way, and combined. Domes and wigwams are firm favourites, but some very interesting living furniture has been made in this way too. See books or websites for inspiration.
The downsides to willow structures are really the same as the upsides! Because they grow so quickly, you will need to prune them a lot or they will quickly get out of hand. You will also need to be attentive to their thirst, especially in the early days. Many a school archway has met its end while everyone is off on their Easter hols. Having said that, it is possible to dig up a sculpture that is taking over a space, or to replace one that has died.
Thanks to Scarlett Penn of WWOOF UK for information.
Whilst you’re here, why not take a look at the other 30+ plants and growing topics available? And don’t forget to visit our main topics page to explore over 200 aspects of low-impact living and our homepage to learn more about why we do what we do.
Living willow structures – grow your own gazebo, arches and pergolas
You’ll be amazed how simple it is to grow your own living willow structure
Cut a ‘whip’ off a willow tree, shove it in the ground at any angle and it will probably grow. Not only that, it will do so even in the swampiest of environments, reliably shooting up a couple of metres a year.
As a result, it’s possible to make gorgeous and practical living willow structures in your garden. Arches, gazebos, pergolas, dens, play areas and even so-called ‘fedges’ can all be constructed from as little as a willow twig. This is a really cost effective design option if you can’t quite afford a more substantial timber gazebo for your garden.
Here are some ideas and advice on creating your own living willow structures.
Preparations for living willow structures
First of all, given there are more species of willow than you can count, you need to pick one. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) suggest, ‘Salix alba var. vitellina (golden willow), S. daphnoides, S. alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’, S. viminalis and S. purpurea’ as the best living willow varieties to use. More advice about using willow in your garden design can be found on the the RHS website.
Where you plant your willow also requires planning. Ideal growing conditions are moist and in full sunlight. Be aware that their roots spread out rapidly, so pick a spot at least 10m from any buildings or pipes you know of.
In terms of preparing a site for living willow structures, it’s relatively straightforward. All you need to do is mark out your design shape, with string or sand, then install the whips! All of this should ideally be done in winter or early spring, which is when willow whips are normally harvested.
If you’ve already bought willow whips, store the thick ends in water to prevent them from drying out and prune off the end before planting. If you do this don’t allow the water to freeze in winter.
Planting living willow structures
Ideally, the thick end of the whip should be pushed in 20-30cm underground. The drier the ground or longer the rod, the deeper it will need to grow. But given willow’s extraordinary propensity to grow, you may well end up with a flourishing structure however you plant it!
Adding some compost to the soil when planting won’t go amiss. And willow plants actually enrich the surrounding soil themselves, allowing other nearby plants to flourish as long as the roots of the different plants don’t interfere with each other too much. You may also want to put heavy weedsheet around the base of the structure too – this can stop unwanted shoots growing where they aren’t wanted.
Different designs for living willow structures
Using the longest willow whips you can get a hold of, plant a row on either side of a wooden arch or pergola, spaced 10-15cm apart. Let them grow straight up, tying them together at the top. It’ll look sparse at first, but weaving new shorts through the structure will help it fill out (though don’t point them downwards as they’ll probably die). The end result will be a lovely natural-looking spot to seek shade, read a book in, or whatever other use you find for it.
2. A living willow fedge
A willow fedge is a cross between a hedge and a fence. It can be used as a more organic-looking alternative to a fence – much more interesting than a wall of brown timber. They’re a good way to divide and section off your garden, creating different rooms or zones.
To make one, plant a single row of long willow whips about 25cm apart, each leaning at a 45-degree angle facing alternating directions. This will allow you to weave a lattice-structured fence which can be cut to the desired height. A willow fedge is that simple.
3. A living willow wigwam or dome
Although more complex to erect, these make good kids’ play areas or garden picnic spots – though they’re not guaranteed waterproof. To make a living willow wigwam, plant long sturdy willow whips about 30cm apart in a large circle. Leaning in alternate diagonals, with the strongest whips either side of your doorway.
Then fill in the gaps with smaller willow whips, depending on how thick you want the walls to be. Then weave the ends together at the top to create a beautiful intertwining roof. Or, for an easier project, just bundle them together to make a tepee-style roof.
4. Maintenance and aftercare for living willow structures
Willow, being suited to wet swampy conditions, needs a fair amount of watering, especially immediately after planting. Aim to water living willow structures every day for the first week, switching to every other day the next fortnight after that before easing off slightly (though this does depend on the weather you’re having).
Although willow’s prolific growth rate makes it perfect for a variety of garden structures, the downside is that regular pruning is a necessary evil. This will help your living willow structures fill out and strengthen with regrowth, instead of just growing taller and taller.
That being said, the willow whips that are removed can be used to make more designs, so it’s a fruitful chore. You could also use the whips to make willow baskets or sculptures – there are lots of courses for this nowadays.
Aphids (greenfly) are partial to willow, and in late summer can infest the plant and produce sticky honeydew which wasps are attracted to. Deer and rabbits are also a foe, and they are susceptible to various fungal diseases, so keep an eye out for this.
Sourcing willow whips
Simply cutting stems from any willow tree (preferably from the species listed above, and preferably asking the owner before you do so) lets you create a willow structure free of charge. There are also easy kits available on the Willows Nursery website and MusgroveWillows.co.uk.
Other useful articles about living willow structures and fedges
With these links and advice you should have everything you need to create your very own living willow structures or willow fedge.
2004. Willow Lodge (dome), Rogers Environmental Education Center, Sherburne, NY; 8 feet by 8 feet.
2004. Two living arches, Cornell Cooperative Extension grounds, Norwich, NY; 15 feet by 5 feet.
2004. Wee Willow Dome (dome and fedges), Riverside Park, Tunkhannock, PA; 12 feet by 7 feet.
2005. Installation at artist residence (interconnected fedges, arch and dome), Norwich, NY; 20 feet by 20 feet.
2005. Living fence and archway, Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School, Gwynedd Valley, PA; 33 feet by 4 feet.
2006. Outdoor Living Room and fedges and arch at private residence, Amagansett, Long Island, NY; 14 feet by 14 feet and 35 feet by 5 feet.
2006. Living fence and arch, West Chester Friends School, West Chester, PA; 33 feet by 6 feet.
2007. Dome at the Susquehanna School, Binghamton, NY; 8 feet by 8 feet.
2007. Living Cairn at private residence, Litchfield, CT; 13 feet by 9 feet.
2007. Installation at the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier, Erie, PA with multi height interconnected com ponents designed around the “LEAF” motive. Involves sculpture, arches, fedges and pathways. Funded by an Artist and Communities grant from MAAF; 50 feet by 30 feet.
2008. Living Penthouse Screen, Private Residence, New York City; 52 linear feet.
2008. Living Library Book, Guernsey Memorial Library, Norwich, NY; 13.5 feet by 12.75 feet by 6 ft.
2008. Two Living Pyramids (Cleopatra and Little Tut), Private Residence, New Berlin, NY; 4 feet square by 7.5 feet and 2.75 feet square by 6.5 feet.
2008. Eagle motif with living arch and two sloping wings, Gilbertsville-Mount Upton Central School, Gilbertsville, NY; 25 feet by 11 feet.
2008. Maze with two round turretted pathways and offset arches, ArtQuest (Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts), Wilber Mansion, Oneonta, NY; 11 feet diameter by 6.5 feet.
2008. Living memorial structure for Mr. Simpson consisting of a star, moon walk, entrance arch and “S” walkway plus flower beds, Chenango Bridge Elementary School, Chenango Bridge, NY; 31 feet by 18 feet.
2009. Two living (forced grown in greenhouses) arches for the Central New York Flower Show, Syracuse, NY; 8 feet by 4 feet.
2009. A series of tiered double living fences, potted structures and tunnel in the Willow Patch, Cazenovia, NY in conjunction with SUNY-ESF and Cazenovia High School students; several acres.
2009. Capital “A” sculpture at Guilford Art Center, Guilford, CT; 6 feet by 5 feet tall.
2009. Living Arbor; The Country School, Madison, CT; 9 feet diameter by 5 feet tall.
2009. Several living arches at private residencies, Madison, CT; each 5 feet by 4 feet approximately.
2009. Two living domes at private residence, Long Island, NY; each has 17 foot diameter.
2010. The Living Tree 1 created for CNY Blooms Flower Show in Syracuse, NY; 8 feet in diameter at base, 16 feet at widest diameter and 13 feet tall.
2010. Two tunnels (10 feet and 25 feet) and an 8 foot dome for the Children’s Learning Center, Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, NY.
2010. Living Willow Room at a private residence on Long Island; 18 feet by 9 feet and 8 feet tall.
2010. Living Mustang (school emblem) for Morris Central School, Morris, NY; 30 feet by 22 feet.
2011. Arbor at Otego Elementary School, Otego, NY; 12 feet wide by 6 feet tall.
2011. Two living arches at Fayetteville Elementary School, Fayetteville, NY; each 5.5 feet wide and 7 feet tall.
2011. Living Tunnel, Pierce’s Park, Pier 5, Baltimore, MD; 47.5 feet long by 4.5 feet tall.
2012. Living Wall, Upper East Side, New York; 10 feet tall.
2012. Butterfly Garden perimeter with two arches, Fayetteville Elementary School, Fayetteville, NY; 25 feet by 12 feet.
2012. Arbor, OAOC (Otsego Area Occupational Center), Milford, NY; 10 feet wide by 6 feet tall.
2012. Dome, Newark Valley High School, Newark Valley, NY; 12 feet in diameter.
2012. Tunnel at Eden’s Mosaic development, Merrifield, VA; 22 feet long and 5 feet tall.
2012. Memorial Installation, SculptureFest 2012, Woodstock, VT; 20 feet by 10 feet.
2013. Living Walls, Sperryville, VA; 150 feet.
2013. Tunnel, University of Chicago Lab Schools, Chicago, IL; 8 feet.
2013. Garden Entrance, Andes Central School, Andes, New York; 15 feet.
2015. Living Gazebo, Chicago, IL; 11.75 feet in diameter by 7 feet tall.
2015. Living Enclosed Walkway with Tunnels and Dome, Cotuit, MA; 50 feet in length by 9 feet in width varies.
2015. Living Duomo Shell Structure, Staten Island Children’s Museum, Staten Island, NY; 14 feet in diameter and 8 feet tall.
2017. Infinite Hedgerow of Herba Potentia for A/D/O’s Design Academy in conjunction with The Olin Studio, Brooklyn, NY; 30 feet by 15 feet by 8 feet tall.
Willow, shrubs and trees of the genus Salix, family Salicaceae, mostly native to north temperate areas and valued for ornament, shade, erosion control, and timber. Salicin, source of salicylic acid used in pain relievers, is derived from certain willows. All species have alternate, usually narrow leaves and catkins, male and female on separate trees; the seeds have long, silky hairs.
Three of the largest willows are black (S. nigra), crack, or brittle (S. fragilis), and white (S. alba), all reaching 20 metres (65 feet) or more; the first named is North American, the other two Eurasian but naturalized widely. All are common in lowland situations.
Widespread from Mexico to Chile, the Chilean willow (S. chilensis) reaches 18 metres; the columnar Xochimilco willow (S. chilensis fastigiata) is a variety especially common at Xochimilco near Mexico City.
The shrubby common, or silky, osier (S. viminalis) supplies twigs used for basket making in Europe. Woolly willow (S. lanata), of northern Eurasia, grows to over 1 metre and has woolly white leaf buds.
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Several species and hybrids with drooping habit are called weeping willows, especially S. babylonica and its varieties from East Asia. From northern Asia, S. matsudana has sharply toothed leaves, whitish beneath. One variety, S. matsudana tortuosa, is called corkscrew willow for its twisted branches.
willow catkinTime-lapse video, filmed over three days, of the opening of the woolly catkins of a pussy, or goat, willow (Salix caprea). Video by Neil Bromhall; music, Musopen.org (A Britannica Publishing Partner)See all videos for this article
Pussy willows, the male form of several shrubby species, have woolly catkins that are considered a harbinger of spring. The catkins are formed before the leaves appear. The North American S. discolor is slightly smaller than the Eurasian species, which attain a maximum height of 7.5 metres.
What is the problem with willows?
Machinery for willow lopping.
Leave as much behind as possible for habitat.
Paint stump following removal.
The purpose of controlling and managing willows should be clearly defined for any project – generally, it is to improve water flow, stream access, water quality and biodiversity. A plan needs to be put in place to revegetate or to encourage regeneration of native vegetation to replace removed willows. This may take time and it is important to consider risks to soil stability and shelter while this occurs. It is always preferable to get on site advice through Landcare, Local Land Services, Council or other programs if available.
Rivers of Carbon
Willow removal is something we can often help landowners with when we agree to work with them on their site. Most of the funding grants that support our work will not, however, cover large scale willow removal so our options are sometimes limited. The really important thing to remember is that removing willows is just the start of the management process. Once they are gone, regular checking and pulling out or poisoning of new growth is essential.
Taking out willows leaves more water for fish
Useful series of publications:
The River and Riparian Land Management Technical Guideline (series)
Australian Government Willow (salix) weed management guide.
State and Territory Weed Management Guides – these guides complement Commonwealth agency recommendations but may have additional requirements or declare more weeds at a State or Territory level.
Weeds of National Significance Guides
New South Wales WeedWise – Willows
Doody, Tanya and Benyon, Richard (2010). Quantifying water savings from willow removal in Australian streams, Journal of Environmental Management pp1-10.
Doody, Tanya M., etal (2011). Potential for water salvage by removal of non-native woody vegetation from dryland river systems. Hydrological Processes. 25, pp4117–4131. Published online 14 December 2011 in Wiley Online Library
Cremer, K. etal. Riparian Technical Update 6: Controlling willows along Australian Rivers, Land & Water Australia.
Gould, Lori (2013). Boorowa River Recovery Evaluation, Masters Final Report, Canberra
Willow Impacts on Australian Water Resources
Doody, Tanya M., etal (2011). Potential for water salvage by removal of non-native woody vegetation from dryland river systems. Hydrological Processes. 25, pp4117–4131. Published online 14 December 2011 in Wiley Online Library
Use willow to make plant supports and garden supports with a beautiful natural look. No special tools needed! Willow can also be used for screens, fences, or raised bed edging. In this short video, watch how to make a willow support in 8 steps.
Willows are common right across the Northern hemisphere, including the United States and Canada. They often grow near rivers or on damp ground, and they’re extremely cold hardy.
How to Make a Willow Hurdle
For each willow hurdle you’ll need:
- 4 hazel posts (at least one and a half inches thick)
- Bundle of willow ‘rods’ (flexible stems)
- Knife or small ax (optional – to whittle ends of posts if necessary)
- Hammer your hazel posts into the ground to form upright posts for your hurdle. If you need to, you can whittle the ends of the sticks to a point so that they pierce the ground more easily.
- Begin weaving your first willow ‘rod’ by laying it on the ground and weaving it in and out of the sticks so that it rod alternates between being in front of one post then behind the next.
- Add another rod, this time weaving in the opposite direction.
- Every few rows, the rods will need to be tied in to hold the end posts upright. Select an extra-long rod for this and weave it into the hurdle, then flex the thinner end of the rod around the end post and weave it back into the hurdle. Repeat the process for the opposite end.
- Continue adding rods, alternating the weave each time, and tying in with an extra-long rod every few rows.
- Occasionally firm up the weave by tapping the rods down with your hand or your hammer so they lay tightly against each other.
- Weave the final two rods around the end posts and tuck them into the weave for a tidy finish.
- Complete the hurdle by trimming any protruding rods so they are flush with the ends, or twist and weave them back in.
Find more garden techniques and tips! Try the wonderful Almanac Garden Planner.
Living Willow Structure Kits
What could be more rewarding than making your own living willow structure? A Fedge Screen perhaps, to improve the view, or a fantasy den to stimulate a child’s imagination (batteries not included) perfect for gardens or schools or a leafy shady arbour where you can relax and watch nature going about her business.
We sell a variety of different Kits that can be built either as ‘Standalone’ structures or combined with each other to form ‘Multispace’ sculptures.
We have over 20 years experience of designing and installing living willow structures. Our tried and tested ‘no dig’ method produces elegant and strong, living willow structures that will grow and thrive year after year.
Beware of imitations! Our kits are a quality product, all the willow rods are graded and selected for each individual kit, come with detailed instructions and clear diagrams and photographs, are easy to follow and are suitable for complete beginners.
We are confident they are the best quality and value for money available!
We supply cut price Willow Rods (or Whips), Willow Cuttings, and a range of Living Willow kits including structures such as Domes, Wigwams, Arbours, Fences / Hedges (or Fedges) and Tunnels. These cover a range of 17 selected varieties including Salix Viminalis, Salix Tortuous (Corkscrew or Curly Willow), Salix Alba Vitellina (Golden Willow, Salix Alba Chermesina (Scarlet Willow), Salix Purpurea (Chou Blue), Salix Sachalinensis (Sekka) and Salix Triandra (Black Maul).
See ‘Online Shop’ menu linkfor pricing & ordering, and ‘Willow Varieties’ page for summary listing of our products.
We are taking bookings now for winter planting season (Nov to Mid April) We cover whole of mainland UK for installs. See online shop for ordering. Orders placed May through to early November will be delivered mid November, orders place from mid November onwards will be delivered within 3-5 working days from date of placing order. Large items delivered ‘Next Day’ TNT service (at flat rate £15), smaller items Post Office ‘Standard Parcels’.
Large Living Willow Tunnel Structure Kit
The photo above shows a large living willow tunnel structure about 8 weeks after construction. These can be supplied in kit form per metre length. The one shown is about 3m. The tunnel structure kit includes rods, membrane, ties, detailed instructions, pegs, and 9 photos showing various stages of construction.
For these the type of willow structures we use is Salix Viminalis. Each produces long supple rods which in a single growing season after pollarding can reach up of to 5m in length. The living tunnel will require periodic pruning and weaving of new growth to retain ideal tunnel shape.
Living Willow Fence / Hedge (Fedge) Structure Kit
The photo above shows a living willow Fedge (Fence / Hedge) structure about 8 weeks after construction. These can be supplied in kit form per metre length. The one shown is about 5m long. The Fedge structure kit includes rods, membrane, ties, detailed instructions, pegs, and 9 photos showing various stages of construction.
The living fedge structure will require periodic pruning and weaving of new growth. Heavy pruning at the top encourages growth at the bottom. The angled rods tend to sprout along entire length while the uprights from the top only.
Living Willow Dome Structure Kit
The photo above shows a small living willow Dome structure about 6 weeks after construction. It is 2m diameter and 1.8m high. Constructed using 73 x 2.5m+ Salix Viminalis willow rods.
We offer various sizes of dome kit, and as with other structure and sculpture kit offerings we provide full instructions and photos and various stages along with pegs, membrane ties etc.
A dome typically take 2 people between half and a full day to construct. Small tunnels can be built into entrances, large domes can have seating built inside. Ideal for schools. .
Small Living Willow Tunnel Structure Kit
The photo above shows a small living willow tunnel structure about 5 weeks after construction. These can be supplied in kit form per metre length. The one shown is about 6m.
The tunnel structure kit includes rods, membrane, ties, detailed instructions, pegs, and 9 photos showing various stages of construction. These can be made from various varieties of willow as rods of only about 1.5m in length are required.
These small tunnels are ideal for living willow structure or sculpture together or providing entrance to a dome. The willow tunnel can be straight, bendy as in the photo of even circular.
The photo above shows three different varieties of 170 x 25cm cuttings. Willow will grow readily from stem cuttings making propagation very straightforward.
Live willow cuttings are available from 1st December to the end of April. They are 25cm long and vary in thickness depending on the variety chosen.
See ‘Willow Varieties’ section for list of the varieties of cuttings offered along with a brief description. We offer cuttings in single, or bundles of 10/100 for all 17 of the varieties we grow.
The key to successfully growing willow from cuttings is dealing with weeds. The easiest method being use of membrane to plant the cuttings through, see ‘Planting’ page on this site. However even without soil preparation or membrane of any sort, willow cuttings will still usually grow very successfully though not quite as vigorously.These varieties are hardy and fast growing. Even in the first season some can grow over 2m from cuttings given the right conditions.
Rods (Sometimes referred to as Whips)
Bundles of willow Rods / Whips are offered for a number of the varieties we grow which lend themselves to producing straight long stems with few side shoots. These are offered in 1.5, 2.0m, 2.5m, 3.0m and 3.5m lengths, and in bundles of 10, 100, 1000, and 10,000. The best variety for producing good rods is Salix Viminalis. [Please ask regarding the very long 3m+ rods as these are not offered by default on the online shop owing to significant variation in delivery costs (we deliver these ourselves) The rods / Whips are superb for building ‘Living Willow’ structures, Fedges, or simple hedges, see ‘Living Structures’ section on this site for detailed information, examples, and photos. The photo avove shows bundles of Salix Viminalis rods / Whips. This variety is ideal for living willow structures or sculpture, being able to grow in single season very flexible 3.5m+ rods with no side shoots.