Willow Hedges

Willow hedges are excellent for use on moist ground, especially in areas like East Anglia where they help to break the open landscape. The young willows should be planted 45cm (1.5ft) apart in two staggered rows 90cm (3ft) apart. Let the hedge develop normally for two or three years, then cut down one row to ground level one year and the other the next. By continuing this pattern, this will maintain a vigorous growth habit and it will control the overall height of the hedge.

If Osier Willow (Salix viminalis) is used, the cut wood (withies) could be sold for basket-making. A vigorous variety such as this also offers excellent wind protection. If Golden Willow (Salix alba Vitellina) is used, this will produce outstanding yellow stems, and Scarlet Willow (Salix alba Chermesina) will produce brilliant orange-scarlet stems. By adopting this method of maintaining the hedge, a continuous windbreak will be achieved and one will gain the advantage of the very attractive colours of the young stems; and if the withies are sold this will provide an income from the hedge without detracting from its useful qualities.