Willows Nursery Walgrave Northampton  NN6  9QA 01536 791371

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Using Cuttings

 IDEAS FOR LIVING WILLOW STRUCTURES
USING SHORT WILLOW CUTTINGS

Because willow grows so quickly - the Salix Viminalis ‘Bowles Hybrid’ short cuttings can provide 3 or 4 whips of 8 or 9 (or more) feet long in one season - you might like to ‘grow your own’ structure !  You could either plant the cuttings in one place and simply cut the whips and plant them where they are wanted in winter - and the cuttings will give you more whips the next year . . .  and the next . . . .  ! 

OR you could plant the cuttings where they are wanted, for example, as the perimeter of a circle for a dome/playhouse, or in two rows to make a tunnel.  It will take a year longer to create a structure than planting with long whips - but it will cost less and you might prefer the idea of a less formally planted structure.

We had not actually created this type of structure ourselves before - because we have plenty of long whips whenever we want to make something - but we thought that we would try some  in our ‘experimental patch’ as several people ordering cuttings said that they were planning this sort of project.

For a small child’s den we planted 18 x 10 inch cuttings of Salix Viminalis ‘Bowles Hybrid’ in a circle of about 5 feet in diameter at about 9 inch spacing, leaving a gap of about 3 feet for an opening. We planted in January, and the photograph below shows growth in early May.

. . . . . .  And below shows the growth on 22nd June !

. . . . . .  And then at the start of November before leaf fall !

Each 10 inch cutting grew 2 to 4 whips. 1 or 2 were 9 ft long, the others about 6 ft long - more than long enough to make this den. During the winter we bent some of the longest whips over to make a simple structural frame and the shorter ones were woven in around the sides.
The growth is such that a bigger den could have been created if the cuttings were planted in a circle of a bigger diameter - and that is planting on average soil with no supplemental watering during the summer dry spells !

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The photograph to the left shows the new structure in growth in early June - that
is about 18 months after
the short cuttings were first planted.

We also planted cuttings to create another dome/playhouse. This one was a mix of 10 inch and 3 ft long cuttings alternated - the idea being that the whips growing from the longer cuttings would provide the main structure and those from the short cuttings would be woven in lower down to make the structure more enclosed - there are 10 x long cuttings and 9 x short cuttings, planted in a circle with about a 6 ft diameter. We were sure that this technique would provide whips on the cuttings would be long enough to create a structure of at least this size.

This shows the growth in early May on a mix of long and short cuttings for a dome/playhouse .  .  .  .  .  .  and below, the finished structure! The cuttings grew  whips of similar lengths as for the smaller dome above, but there were up to 6 whips off each of the longer cuttings, and of course they started at least 2 ft higher up !
- again more than long enough to make this den.

The photograph to the left shows the new structure as woven together
1 year after the cuttings were planted and the photograph to the right shows the new structure in growth in early June - that
is about 18 months after
the short cuttings were first planted.

We also planted 12 x 3 ft long cuttings to create a tunnel - 6 either side of a 6 ft wide path and about 1 ft between cuttings

Again the growth was more than sufficient to achieve the required size.

The photograph below shows the new structure in growth in early June - that
is about 18 months after
the short cuttings were first planted.

3 foot long cuttings are
available to buy at 1.20 each
plus 19 carriage and packing.
Please e-mail or give us a call if you would like to order these.

Please see our FAQ page on the main part of
our website for further information and advice.

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