Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Living willow fence nearly complete

living willow fence - just complete

living willow fence - just complete

After a couple of days work I’ve finished this thirty metres of open weave willow fence.

It took a while to decide exactly where to go with this job. I’m always very careful about recommending the use of living willow – it can be a right pain once it gets going and in the wrong place its speed of growth and root run have potential to cause real problems.

In this case our client started out thinking about a dead fence of continuous weave willow. I suggested an open weave to avoid problems with the wind in her exposed garden. A bit later, she asked about living willow and I did my usual attempt to dissuade. However, the location is good; it’s a distance from buildings and other beds. The new bed will be planted with shrubs on the south-west side of the willow; as the shrubs establish, they should shade the willow and eventually the latter might get the chop – either literally or by chemical means (perhaps both).

In the mean time, it will green up as the leaves appear in spring. The new growth can be cut regularly through the summer or left to the end of the season and woven back into the structure. I’ve used wild sallow uprights which shouldn’t strike too vigorously; it’s the finer diagonals that will produce most greenery. The permeable plastic mulch will suppress weeds and keep the soil damp.

It’s been a pleasure working with our client, who wanted to be involved in the process. Just a couple of hazel arches and we’ll be done.

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