Are you considering planting a few willows on your homestead?
Looking for an unusual and beautiful landscape feature that has a practical use? Wanting a local source for your artisan basket weaving? Want to grow your own baskets or furniture? Looking for an eco-friendly source of fuel logs?
Willows are amazing plants. Used for landscaping interest, bee fodder, flower arrangements, they add colour and texture to the garden in all 4 seasons. They are easy to grow. You just push the stem into prepared ground, water and keep weed free for a season and they root naturally and continue to grow.
Willows are carbon sequesters — they absorb carbon from the air and hold it in the ground. Willows actually give off less carbon when they are burned as fuel than they take in during their life span. Carbon credits anyone?
Willows grow quickly and regrow when cut to the ground. All the fertility they need, they produce themselves with their fallen leaves so they don’t need agricultural chemicals to grow.
Basket willows can be cut annually for basket making materials, for garden stakes, or floral arrangements. Cut every 2 years they are strong enough for furniture making or living willow garden structures. Left for 4 to 6 years they become thick enough for fuel logs.
When used for living willow sculptures they root and grow leaves — becoming a mysterious, and seasonally changing focal point for a children’s playground, garden, or hedgerow.
Left to grow to specimen size they provide year round interest, leaf colour, texture and shade in a fast growing tree.
The bark from willow is rich in tannins and salic acid (a natural pain killer, fever reducer and anti inflammatory) The bark is harvested from cut rods, in the spring after the sap begins to flow. Willows stems also contain a natural rooting hormone, which can be used to root cuttings from other plants.