Build a living fence (fedge), chair, dome, tunnel, bench,
teepee, igloo, maze or whatever your imagination can produce.
Just stick long willow branches (6'+) directly into the
ground, tie them together into the desired shape and they
will root and grow, producing a cover of green leaves over
the structure. This is the quickest and one of the cheapest
ways to create a screen as well as being one that allows
you to control the shape and height of your fence. Birds
love it too!
Long straight branches are needed for living willow structures.
To make a fedge, in early spring simply stick the rods in
the ground about 8-12" and at an angle of 45-60 degrees.
Place them about 15" apart. Then go back and interplant
another row of rods angled in the opposite direction, forming
a diamond pattern. Then tie the joints together for stability.
There are instructions on the websites listed below. Ten
rods are required for a distance of approximately 7.5',
when planted 15-18" apart.
Since a living willow structure must be pruned to keep
its shape (at least twice a year, depending on the structure),
the coloured bark of the annual growth is not much of a
factor for winter interest. Therefore choosing a variety
based on its colourful stems will likely result in disappointment,
as it is the annual growth that is colourful, and not the
bark on two-year-old wood. So we suggest that you do not
choose your rods based on the merits of its winter colour.
As a matter of fact, there is not much difference between
all the rods other than their diameter or sturdiness.
|Picture of a fedge
at Reford Gardens, Grand-Métis, Quebec
Photographed by Georges Archer
We are not experts on the subject of living willow structures.
We cannot help you with instructions on how to make them
or how many rods you will need, though we now have instructions
on building a dome on our blog.
Please refer to the book shown on this page or to the
websites below for more information and lots of pictures
of Living Willow Sculptures:
We sell rods for fedges and other living
|Your best and cheapest approach
is to purchase cuttings and harvest rods from your own
plants. If you start a bundle of 10 cuttings this year,
two years from now you will have a yield of approximately
3-6 rods (per plant) of 6-10' in length, depending on
the variety and the growing conditions. The following
year you will have many more.
We usually have the following rods available (in early spring
only). These are also the recommended willows if you want
to grow your own plants for harvesting the rods:
All the above willows are currently growing in Zone 4/5.
Willows hardy to Zone 3 include:
We have a webpage called Rod
Production Stats, which shows how many rods can be expected
from some of our willows, and another page called Willow
Growth Rates, which shows the heights of the plants
(meaning the length of rods you can expect) in a single
year of growth.
Order Rods for 2012
We have a price list/order form specifically for willow
rods: Canada Order Form,
USA Order Form. The
rods are available for a very short period of time in the
spring (March-May) and can only be planted in the spring.
We still have some available. These rods originate in Canada,
so US Customs requires a Phytosanitary Certificate (a cost
of $12) for importation into the United States. In late
May and we will only ship to cool climates.
If you have pictures of a living structure that you have
created and would like to have it shown on this website,
please contact us.
These gorgeous pictures have been sent to us by James Burke.
Click to enlarge.
by Robert Miller in Altamont Gardens, Ireland
photographed by James Burke