Living Willow from Willows NurseryFAQs
When can I buy/plant willow ?
the winter (generally late November to late February). That is when it is freshly cut and it is the right time to plant the willow for it to successfully root. Any time in the period late November to early March is usually fine for planting.
We will send the willow out to suit your plans for preparing the site and recommend planting within a few weeks of taking delivery.
If you take delivery at the end of the season we recommend planting as soon as possible to be certain of successful rooting.
When will my willow arrive ?
If you place an order during the cutting/delivery season (ie from late November onwards) we will assume that you are ready to plant and we aim to send out your order within 3 working days of receiving it (we generally send out 3 times a week) and we will advise you of the despatch date (and tracking information if sent by carrier). If you would like to place an order early in the season to ensure availability (we do generally sell out of the longer whips before the end of the season) but you would like delivery delayed, please just add the details in the notes section on the order or send us an e-mail when you order.
If you order on-line or provide your e-mail address when you order by post or phone then we will confirm delivery details by e-mail so please check your inbox for our confirmation details.
Can I collect my order ?
How near to buildings can I plant willow ?
How do I order/pay ?
If you are a school or organisation and would like to be invoiced, then you can either place the order by ‘phone, fax*, post or email (*faxes can be received on our telephone number) and we will send an invoice by email. Payment can be made by cheque, credit/debit card or bank transfer.
We are not registered for VAT.
How is the willow delivered ?
Long willow whips/living willow kits are sent by carrier – TNT – and delivery should* be the day after it is sent.
*However, whilst TNT generally does deliver the day after orders are sent we, unfortunately are not able to guarantee next day delivery, so please bear that in mind when planning delivery and planting.
Please note : a signature is required on delivery. You can provide an alternative delivery address (ie your work address/a relative etc) if this is more convenient.
If you place an advance order before the cutting/delivery season for living willow whips/kits then we will get in touch with you when we start cutting to find out when you will be ready to plant and to arrange delivery.
If you place an order for living willow whips/kits during the cutting/delivery season (ie from late November onwards) we will assume you are ready to plant and we aim to send out your order within 3 working days of receiving it (we send out 2 or 3 times a week) and we will advise you of the despatch date (and tracking information if sent by carrier).
If you would like to place an order early in the season to ensure availability (we do generally sell out of the longer whips before the end of the season) but you would like delivery to be delayed, please just add the details in the notes section on the order or send us an e-mail when you order.
If you order on-line or provide your e-mail address when you order by post or phone then we will confirm despatch details by e-mail so please check your inbox for our confirmation details.
How do I store the willow ?
Ideally – once we are in the cutting/delivery season – order only when you are ready to plant or let us know, when you order, if you would like delivery to be delayed.
Do you deliver outside UK mainland ?
Short willow cuttings can be sent throughout the UK by First Class Post at a cost of £4.00.
We can send long willow whips/kits to the Scottish Highlands and Islands, Northern Ireland/ Isle of Wight and the Channel islands, but TNT does charge a lot more for this service, so please contact us for the cost of delivery which will be in excess of the standard £19.00 charge – also next day delivery is unlikely, with at least 2 days being more usual.
How do I prepare the site for planting ?
For best results, the planting site should be dug over and fertiliser/manure/organic matter added – especially if the soil has a tendency to dry out quickly. Planting through an appropriate membrane or adding a good mulch will help in weed control later on but is not essential.
As an example, the ‘Adapted’ Dome Kit will make a dome that can have an inside height up to a maximum of 6 feet 6 inches with a base diameter of up to a maximum of 7 feet – ie that is the largest it can sensibly be built whilst still being held together by reasonable overlapping of willow – approach the other domes and wigwams in the same way (dimensions are given on the Kit Prices page.
If you prefer, you can make the dome lower & wider or taller & narrower. So, on the basis of that, decide on the rough base diameter you will be aiming for and the digging over just needs to be around the circumference of the circle – but leaving the doorway undug if you have decided which way it will face.
One way to mark out the circle is – 2 sticks tied together with a piece of string measured to the radius of the required circle : one end pushed into the ground at the centre of the site and the other stick used to scrape a mark in the ground, or use as a guide for marking with paint/sand etc.
Then, ideally, dig around this marked planting line 2 spade widths (ie a spade width either side of the marked line so you have scope to alter the planting width if you wish) and a spade deep.
For tunnels, look at the dimensions given of the item ordered and mark out the width and dig over the two parallel planting areas in the same way.
For fedges, obviously, just the one line of digging is needed.
Can I buy willow whips longer than 9 ft ?
We do have a some kits using 11 ft long whips for the main structural elements – which allow taller/wider structures to be created – but you need to telephone or email to order those so that we can ensure that demand does not outstrip supply (they are not listed to buy in the
In a good growing year, if there is a more plentiful supply of longer whips, we may be able to offer 11 ft whips on their own (as opposed to only as part of a kit) – or possibly even longer whips – please get in touch to check on availabilty.
However, longer than 11 ft would only be available for collection from the Nursery (by appointment) as they cannot be sent by carrier.
What should I order to plant a windbreak/living screen to block out the neighbours/noise ?
Ideally the short cuttings should be planted at 18 inch (45 cm) spacing and for more impact and a denser screen, if you have room, a double row would be good with 12 to 18 inches between the rows and the cuttings staggered in a zig zag pattern
‘Bowles Hybrid’ is the toughest of the willows we have available, and a double if not a triple staggered row would be best for a windbreak. Alternatively, one of the coloured stemmed varieties would give interest through the winter.
Potentially, each short cutting will grow 3 or 4 stems, some of which, in good growing conditions, should reach 6 to 9 ft in the first year depending on the variety chosen.
For a screen, the idea would then be, each winter, to cut down 1/3 to 1/2 of the stems. You will be left with a partial screen and new growth will come from the cut points keeping the windbreak dense lower down. The next winter you would then cut back the 2 year old stems . . . and so on.
How fast does willow grow ?
Growth on structures will be less vigorous but good leaf cover should be expected by late Spring after planting in good growing conditions.
Do I need any experience/training to 'plant/build' willow structures ?
Please visit our ‘How to . . . . ‘ pages for brief details of how living willow structures are made and also our ‘Your Willow’ page for photographs sent in by customers of the living willow structures that they have made.
How long does it take to 'plant/build' willow structures ?
How much maintenance do willow structures need ?
Then in the winter (when the leaves are off and it is easier to see) you can weave in as much growth as you wish to/need to, to keep the structure in good shape, and then cut off the rest. This might take 1/2 an hour to an hour.
You might find it helps, during the late summer, to cut off any thicker/longer new growth you haven’t woven in at the very top of a dome or tunnel that will no longer bend down easily to weave in – if left it may be caught by the autumn winds and rock the structure about.
If you are planting a Fedge, it will put on top growth and side growth. Ideally, you will weave in the side growth as it becomes long enough, so that side of the maintenance is little and often and could happen when you walk past as above. You can leave the top growth as a screen until winter and then cut it down (back to the original fedge height), that might take half an hour at most for a 10 ft run between late November and early March.
What is in a willow structure kit ?
What sort of soil does willow need ?
What do I need to do before the willow arrives ?
Will willow grow in shade ?
If it is a large tree that takes up a lot of water and makes the proposed planting site very dry, then it might not be a suitable location for a living willow structure.
How do I tie/secure the willow together ?
We provide biodegradable twine for initial securing – on the basis that pressure grafting and woven in new growth will then hold the structure securely after the first season.
You can also use willow or synthetic ties.
What are your 'dead' willow bundles of Salix Viminalis 'Bowles Hybrid' suitable for ?
From late November onwards we have fresh cut willow which is totally pliable, and will stay so (if kept somewhere cool) until about April.
Thereafter, it will need soaking to become pliable again – in the late spring it may only need a few days soaking, in the autumn (as it has dried out totally from the winter cut) it will need soaking for about 10 days to become workable.
Very roughly speaking, a bundle can cover about 8 to 10 square feet, depending on the type of weaving used and how tightly it is done.
There are approximately 200 whips in the bundles.
Can I plant a 'Fedge' Kit more densely to keep my hens out of my vegetable garden ?
How long will a willow structure last ?
The idea is to weave in new growth either through the growing season or in the winter so that in the spring when the new growth comes again you have the basic original shape.
We don’t recommend leaving non woven-in willow to grow for a 2nd year as the new growth will make it too heavy and it is liable to pull the structure apart when it is caught by the wind.
There is no reason why a maintained structure can’t last for many years and still look good.