Plant Supports Information.
To prolong their lives:
Only use them for annuals and take
inside or undercover for winter.
Do not push them directly
into the soil.
Use 3 other sticks about 14 " long,
place them in the ground and
tie the plant support to them.
This will prevent the bases from
rotting and from
being blown over in the wind.
They look great covered in holly
and ivy with lights at Christmas.
They can be preserved with a 50/50
mix of turps and linseed oil.
Hedgerow and Garden Materials
For willow weaving and basket making
Bushes, hedges and trees are an excellent source of material to work with but it is important to ask for permission before you cut.
You can generally cut between the months of October and March. The rule is if you can wrap it around your wrist you can use it. With our climate being very erratic this can vary from year to year.
The material is usually too dry to use after May but if soaked like willow it might be possible to use it. Some materials are too brittle and don't soak up the water well.
When you have cut the rods leave them to weather under a hedge for a couple of weeks. This allows them to dry a little so when used there won’t be as much shrinkage.
Many of the materials you collect will fade as they dry out so the brighter it is the better.
Sweet or Spanish chestnut, Beech, Fruit trees, Lilac, Poplar,
Climbers and trailers
Ivy, Holly (does not need much weathering as it will dry out too much), bramble with the thorns stripped off with a glove, Periwinkle, Clematis, Dog rose, Honeysuckle, Hop, Ivy, Passion flower, Winter flowering jasmine.
Coppiced or pollarded trees.
Willow, Lime, Eucalyptus, Hazel
Bay laurel, Dogwood, Laburnum, Butchers broom, Forsythia, Privet, Peach, Vine, Snowberry
Ash, Elm, Blackthorn, Yew, Spindle, Hazel, Field Maple
Alder, Birch, Contorted Hazel, Larch with cones on, Magnolia, Mistletoe, Oak, Pussy Willow, Blueberry,
Looking after your living willow tree.
Tutorial: https://vimeo.com/516721560/08583f065c Password if needed: willowandyoga
CUT THE STRING OFF THE BOTTOM AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME
1. Water. Water. Water!
Place the tree pot in a bucket or a trough of water. Keep the soil wet
keep it totally and continually in water from March until the leaves drop. Our weather is so unpredictable we never know when it will be dry and hot and willow loves water.
Check water levels daily when it is hot and dry. Always top up! If it doesn’t have enough water some of the rods will die and go black.
If this happens, remove by cutting them out carefully, so as not to damage the others.
2. Side shoots.
Pinch off all the shoots/buds that grow on the rods below the ties at the top. You can leave those just under the ties and monitor them to see if they look good in the canopy. If not cut them off.
This concentrates all of the growth to the top of the tree above the ties.
There are quite a few in the first year, it’s very therapeutic. They become less in subsequent years.
Feed your tree sporadically with any all purpose plant/tree supplement. Follow the label instructions.
If the leaves look a little yellow then a supplementary feed is usually required.
4. You can shape the crown until the month of August. Just trim of the rods that have grown too long.
Second year and onwards. February/March.
Retie the flexi ties if you think they are too tight and restricting the growth of the plant. Undo the triple tie and re- tie with a double.
Cutting options - Cut all the ‘one year old’ growth back to the top of the rods, about 5cm long leaving a growth point bud, with sharp secateurs, this will multiply the new growth, creating a bushy top and then continue on a 1 year cutting rotation.
Or Leave the first year growth to grow on, this creates a taller tree, then cut them back after 2 years and continue on a 2 year cutting rotation.
Re potting - you can transfer your tree to a bigger/favourite pot, but still keep your roots totally and continually in water. Ideally do this in the second year but if you do pot it up this year, tie the bottoms together so it doesn’t undo. If you plant it in the garden please do not place it anywhere near the house and drains. Willow always finds water!!
Beware the wind; it can blow them over, depending on the weight of the pot.