Sunday, January 6, 2019

GROWING WILLOW FOR BASKETRY



Planting basketry willow for the first time you may have a few questions and I will try to answer some of them here:
1. How many do I need to plant for me to have enough for baskets?
     Well, that depends on several factors such as:
    a) Willow variety and growing conditions: Different willow varieties produce differently.
        Some have a few rods per plant and some have a lot. Some produce mostly larger rods and
        some produce mostly shorter rods. 
        Growing conditions vary from location to location and also from year to year.  Moisture, temperatures,
        soils are just some deciding factors.
    b) Basket designs: Different designs require different sizes and amount of weavers.
    c) Size of baskets: Small baskets require smaller weavers and larger baskets larger and/or more weavers
    d) How many baskets annually
        If you have already made your first few baskets, you will have an idea about what you want to do
        and be able to make decisions based on that. If not, I suggest that you start with  50-100 plants and find
        out if you want more later.
2. How much space do I need in the garden to grow willows for basketry?
    Of course that also depends on how many plants you want. In general though, you need much less space
    than most people think.
    Basketry willow is planted close to force the willow to grow long, straight rods without side shoots. 
    I plant the willows in the field 50 cm (20") between the rows and 25 cm (10") apart in the row.
3. Can I plant the willow in a shaded spot?
    Willow requires sun to perform well. So to give your willow the absolutely best growing conditions, you
    need to give them at least half a day of direct sun during the summer.
4. Does willow require a lot of water?
    As the dormant willow cuttings, that you plant, doesn't have any roots yet, it is very important that the
    soil surrounding them stay moist ALL THE TIME during the first growing season. After that they don't
    require more watering than anything else in your garden.
    It is good idea to plant the cuttings in some kind of mulch. See blog post about propagating willow.
5. Which of your willow varieties are best for basketry? 
    The willow varieties listed under "Willows good for basketry" are ALL good for that.
     However, I do have my favourites and this year we are offering 2 different selections of my best basketry
     willow as a package. 
     Information about the selections here on my website.



Words and photos by Lene Rasmussen,Willows.

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