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willow fence


 
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keane on green
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Joined: 25 May 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 10:33 am    Post subject: willow fence Reply with quote

Hi all,
This is my first post so please go easy on me.

I am looking to create some sort of wind barrier in my back garden which is very exposed to strong sea wind, was thinking of trying to weave a willow fence.
Any advice or anyone know anywhere in east cork where i might find some suitable willow?

Heard recently of live willow fences, what conditions would they need to stay alive, anyone know?
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walltoall
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Joined: 25 Aug 2008
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 12:09 pm    Post subject: willow fence and keane on green Reply with quote

If you want a living willow barrier you can do it yourself. I'm currently trying to locate an article from the early 90's and when I do it'll be published here first. You can of course weave your own 'wattles'. Here in Merrie England it's a flourishing country trade and has been for centuries.

You need to just get out and search the river banks and such places as various osiers/willows grow. You might even be lucky enough to find pollarded specimens. I've found them along the Grand Canal, the Shannon, the Barrow navigation, the Brickey from Glenbeg to Knockmaun, the Suir near Fiddown, the Blackwater between Villiarstown and Youghal on both sides. Most tributaries of the Lee have lashings of willows. In fact the whole of Ireland is groaning under the weight of them. Just check with local landowners to avoid getting shot. The softest weaviest will always be nearest the water.

I presume you already know how to weave them?

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Last edited by walltoall on Fri May 29, 2009 9:27 pm; edited 3 times in total
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keane on green
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks walltoall

I was shown a long time ago how to weave so hopefully it will all come back to me.

Will check out the banks of the river Blackwater at the weekend, hopefully i will find a nice quiet corner with a plentiful supply.

Would love to see that article I wonder would there be a picture guide as to what to look out for in it.

Thanks again
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: Living wind-break and hedge Reply with quote

God tis grand to be talking to someone who knows how to use his hands! I'll find that article eventually. It was long before internet so I can't just cut and paste. Here's a link I was reading through recently which most definitely deals with pre-internet fence building.
.
http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/good_wood/livng_fs.htm#anchor1271907


EDITED 29th The article is done and it's all my own write. The original was written by me before internet using ideas from Raf Fulcher and Liz Tate, sculptor landscape geniuses from Co. Durham in the late 80s and this is its first electronic form. It's my payback for this marvellous forum. Use it abuse it copy in or have it for your lunch. I'm hereby donating it to the forum members and 'specially to "Keane on Green" for spurring me into action. Apologies, GPI, but the willow used is not a native. I've only ever used Salix fragilis and S. alba for this stunt. Wink

The actual article is in the next post if that is not oxymoronic and if "The Royal Mail" does not go on strike tomorrow.........

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Last edited by walltoall on Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:39 am; edited 7 times in total
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walltoall
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Location: Thurrock RM15 via Dungarvan and the Banner County

PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2009 2:56 pm    Post subject: A living hedge Reply with quote

The article on how to make a living hedge is hereby posted. Please see my previous post for 'right to use' crap etc.

Following is a means of preparing a useable hedge which will form a windbreak within a year of planting and a solid hedge within two years.

Starting time is NOW or VERY SOON, meaning the mid June in the Northern Hemisphere. Antipodean readers can wait til mid-December, but I'd advise marking this article 'cause it's a one-off. For our 'instant gardening' friends who work mainly out of LIDL, ALDI and B+Q this hedge is not particularly labour intensive but requires daily and weekly attention in the early weeks. You don't just plant it and come back next year to find a ready-made hedge. Unless you are prepared to put in the time, pass on this one and buy wire or make wattle.

Now that we've cleared that up, let's go for it. The timing is perfect second week of June. The Summer solstice next week. Start planning and making NOW.

Measure out where you want to put the hedge and get a length of plastic garden hose to suit. (You'll be using it later for watering). Put a HoseLock connection on one end and close off the other end by bending it over on itself and binding it. I found an elastic band works nicely in UK where posties throw away pink rubber bands by the million. I kid you not. Later you will need a 'yardstick' to measure and control the height of the hedge. Last hedge I did I was able to use my garden rake. You make your own arrangement. 6foot is about the max useful height for this hedge. A warning to those of you who are considering using this type of hedging on your land boundaries with neighbours, I'd advise it be planted at least 4' in from the boundary so you can maintain it from both sides without trespassing.

Use Crack Willow or its close relation White Willow, both of which [in the British Isles at least] grow in the immediate vicinity of rivers, streams and are also found in very wet swampy ground. You need branches about four to five foot long and you will need two branches per linear yard or meter of hedge. The thickness or diameter at the cut-off point should be a little less than a UK £2 coin or a little larger than a Eurozone €2 coin. For the rest of the world that means a little over an imperial inch if you were part of the empire or 27mm for those born outside the empire since the French revolution.

Once you have the branches you need, cut the growing end off with a secateurs so that the rods are all 3foot or a metre in length. With a sharp pruning knife and cutting upwards, remove all branchlets, no matter how small, as close as possible to the branch but without damaging the 'node' (the bump which extrudes from where side shoots emerge from a main stem). Remove all remaining leaves by plucking.

A crowbar is a handy tool to now have to hand but it's not essential. It allows you to stab strongly into the earth along the line you want, making holes 18" (1/2 meter) apart and 9" (22mm) deep, into which you pour a pint or two of water and then insert the fat end of the sally rods, pushing down 8" (20cm). Check with the eye that all are in a straight line, all are vertical and the tips are all at the same height. Any other inventive method that gets those rods in and vertical will do. You can even pare the fat end with a whittling tool. Willow can take lots of abuse.

Back to our hose which should be lying alongside. Make little cuts or holes in the hose alongside each willow rod in the line and join the hosepipe using the HoseLock to a water supply. Turn on taps or whatever you need to get the irrigation going and check that each rod actually gets a supply of water. Once every 24hours at whatever time suits you, turn on the water supply for maybe 10minutes. Do it even when it rains! You gotta keep those rods pretty saturated all the time. Don't forget even ONE DAY or you're out.

Down in the dark damp earth the rods will have started putting out rootlets after about 8days. By 24days these roots will be some 2"-4" long. Overground, little buds will be appearing on the rods. You can gradually reduce the DAILY watering time to a couple of minutes during July and into August, unless there is a drought. Now comes the WEEKLY drudge. Once you notice those little buds appearing, at least once a week go down the line and rub out all shoots that are not pointing along the line of the hedge. This is the magic ingredient. By reducing the number of buds allowed to flourish, you channel the growing strength of the rod. By preserving the ones that point along the hedge line you concentrate at getting growth which closes the gaps between the rods. By leaf fall sometime between mid September and late October they should already be intermingling and over the winter you will have a willow mesh which is only inches thick and quite spectacular.

The daily watering stopped in September. It is up to the rods to make their own way in life from now on. Unless your garden is smack on an Esker, there will be enough water in the ground or falling out of the sky to allow the rods to flourish. In Spring when the leaves return, concentrate on the height. Using your yardstick ensure that no upward growth is allow to exceed about 5' the first year. Also, clip in any horizontal growth to keep the overall width of the hedge no more than 12" max.

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Last edited by walltoall on Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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sandra12
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject: Re: A living hedge Reply with quote

walltoall wrote:


Back to our hose which should be lying alongside. Make little cuts or holes in the hose alongside each willow rod in the line and join the hosepipe using the HoseLock to a water supply. Turn on taps or whatever you need to get the irrigation going and check that each rod actually gets a supply of water. Once every 24hours at whatever time suits you, turn on the water supply for maybe 10minutes.


Brilliant, I was just reading this out of interest in weaveing willow. But I got a plan for a diy version of ooze pipe as well. Thanks walltoall. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote




If you are looking for woven willow products you should be able to source some here...... Willow fence

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walltoall
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:39 pm    Post subject: willow or willow not? Reply with quote

delighted to help Sandra! By the way there are at least three of these hedges which were planted in June, thriving. They get a lot more rain than I do here in Thurrock.
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Foxylock
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thats a fantastic article Walltoal. I'm intending to use this method to fence off the end of my garden but I'm wondering is it season specific, could I take a chance and try it during the bare root season ? Or would I be pushing my luck ?
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:16 pm    Post subject: willow or willow not? Reply with quote

Hiya Foxylock,

You have nothing to lose by trying but let's be fair growth always slows to almost nothing in Winter, glowball warning or not. It's about how much sunshine plants get and the angle it hits them at. Bare-root planting is fine for putting in bare-root saplings. They just stay dormant til they get enough sunlight at the right angle and away they go. But if the bottom of your garden is damp warm and sunny you can go for it in the next fortnight. At best the stakes will 'take' before going into hibernate mode in November. At worst they will 'take' in March. Willows are just dedicated to growing and that is both their strength and their weakness.

But the answer to the specific methodology of the article is that you do it EXACTLY as it says even unto the second week of June. It's not about growing a willow hedge which [trust me] will drive you crazy.

It's about generating a woven willow fence which will be a dream to work with.

ALL good gardeners are opportunists and optimists.

Very Happy Go for it in your own time Very Happy

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Last edited by walltoall on Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:34 am; edited 2 times in total
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dinahdabble
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know if this was a daft idea, but I've started planting Cornus Alba interspersed with willow saplings. I was kind of hoping I might be able to weave the willow into the Dogwood. I have yellow willow saps, but I had contemplated adding another colour too to set things off. Don't know if the Cornus Alba will like being a weft for the other plants, but I'll let you know if I get it to work in some way next spring.

I tried it with brambles last year; too brittle, too prickly, too prone to setting off at a tangent and being awkward, don't even try it, got in terrible tangle which has now filled the top wood it would be easier to train triffid, honestly. :(
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walltoall
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject: willow get thet dog outa my wood? Reply with quote

I shouldn't laugh at the bramble experiment so I won't but I just love the idea of the dogwood willow mix. You prove that all good gardeners are both opportunistic and optimistic. I'll wait for the springtime photos then?
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Foxylock
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Walltoal you're a gentleman and I thank you for the prompt reply you have certainly provided me with some food for thought and I shall ponder on it over the next few days. Very Happy
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