Managing Your Allotment - Willow - Planting and Growing
Allotment Growing - how to plant and grow willow - to form a hedge and windbreak around your allotment plot.
Willow is a fast growing and easily cultivated plant that I have planted around the edges of my plot to form a windbreak.
It is also a lovely thing to grow - in my opinion - both beautiful and functional. It can be cut to provide more willow plants or to provide material to make willow crafts such as baskets.
It will grow well in most condtions and soils. It needs some management - as it can grow quite large - but this is easily done with regular pruning.
It can be cut back at any time and is tolerant of this - it will grow on.
If you want willow wands to grow further plants - the best time to cut is in late Autumn or early Winter - when the sap has been drawn in and the plant is fairly dormant.
How To Plant Willow
You can cut willow wands from existing plants - or buy them fairly cheaply - we got some of ours from a stall at a country fair.
if you do buy it - make sure it is still "green" - that is live and viable for growing. You can test this by scraping back a small amount of the bark - the willow should have a green colour underneath.
Use secateurs or sharp loppers to cut off a "wand" from the plant - ideally a piece about a half an inch thick - although I've found that pieces of a quarter inch thickness will also usually grow when planted.
If necessary - cut willow can be stored for a while in a container with a few inches of water.
Choose spots for planting carefully - willow can grow fast - and into large plants or trees. So best around the edges of your plot.
Dig a hole about 9 inches deep - then use a stick - or better - a metal rod if you have one - to drill a narrower hole another few inches down.
Then simply drop the willow wand into the hole and backfill both the small and the wider hole with soil. Firm it down as you do so.
After that not much attention is needed - just keeping the area free of weeds and possibly a bit of watering in a dry spell of weather.
Over Winter the plant will get its roots down but not show much sign of life - but all is fine. In Spring leaves and new shoots will start to appear.
Planting and Growing Willow - Gallery - click on any image to enlarge