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Living Willow Structures
Overview One of the more recent uses for willow is to create living willow structures. Living willow structures and sculptures are very easy to make. Children love constructing domes and tunnels with willow because it requires little skill and lots of imagination. Living willow fences, ‘fedges’, are also an attractive alternative to conventional fencing. Some specialist companies construct willow walls,living willow hurdles filled with soil which make a solid structure with the added bonus of acting as a shield against noise and pollution. Although almost any type of willow can be used for living willow structures, varieties such as Salix Viminalis are ideal. This is because they produce long straight rods without many side shoots which are easier to use for large structures. Design You can design almost any shaped structure you wish, however there are of course a few restraints. We supply willow that is all new growth, i.e. Less than 12 months old, that means it is very supple and ideal for weaving and building. These can be any length up to 9ft. Not all the rods in the structure need to be pushed into the ground, however any that are not will of course die away eventually and will need to be replaced by new growth being weaved in. Your  living willow structure will evolve over time, but to make this happen it is essential to maintain the structure during the winter, new growth needs to be tied in or pruned right out.   What is Required - Sketch/design so you can work out rods required, allowing at least   15-20cm pushed into the ground. - Appropriate numbers & sizes of Willow rods for your design. - Mypex (Weed suppressing membrane), heavy duty type that lets water   through is ideal - Pegs to hold down membrane - Bar or metal stake to create holes & a large hammer (only needed if   ground is hard) - String or gardening twine to tie in the willow weave   Examples   Below are some examples of recent simple projects, We are happy to come and build the structures for you if you prefer. We are happy to quote for jobs anywhere in Ireland.                   Large 3M Dome with 3m Long Tunnel Entrance                    2.5m Diameter Dome         1) Willow Fedge You can be more creative and undulate the top of your fedge or make holes and windows in it. Ties are simply used to secure the structure while it gets established The photos shown are of simple 1.8m fedge constructed last winter. The two last shots are this summer, showing growth at the base and mainly at the top. Trimming the top will encourage lower growth. Lower shoots can also be woven in to thicken the base.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Click on images                                                                                                                            for larger image         2) Low Willow Arch This shows a long low bendy arch constructed last winter, with last photos taken this spring showing early growth. . This is about 1m high and 5m long, it is great fun to build. It is particularly easy for children to help with and requires only 1.5m long willow rods.                                                                                                                                               Click on images                                                                                                                             for larger image         3) High Willow Arch This high arcch is constructed from 3m Rods and is very quick and easy to build. The early photos were taken in winter and the last one in summer showing it in need a some attention. This is later trimmed at the top to encourage lower growth and the lower growth weaved into the structure. The membrane ensures easy maintenance and keeps moisture in.                           4) Willow Dome This dome was again constructed lin winter and vigorous growth can be seen in just a few months. Trimming at the top and weaving in growth lower down is essential at least once a year, ideally two or three times. The top of the dome will be open to begin with. You will gradually close up the gap when new growth can be woven and tied in during winter maintenance in the following years.
                                  Click on images                              for larger image
Living willow structures