How do you harvest willow for basket weaving?

To harvest, willow can be cut with a pruning shear right down to the ground. The next year it will send up straight branchless shoots, perfect for basketry. The second year of growth it will start to get branchy, which is not desirable for basketmaking.

How do you collect willow for weaving?

To harvest willow from a coppiced willow stool

Cut the rod at the base of each rod, without cutting into the hard willow stool. Gather the willow rods and bundle them with the cut end together. Allow willow rods to dry before weaving them into a basket.

Can you use fresh cut willow for weaving?

If you make something with freshly cut willow be aware that the weaving will loosen as it dries and shrinks, potentially, leaving gaps in the weaving. Ideally, you should wait, say, 6 weeks from cutting before using it to allow dry a little, whilst still being flexible.

When should I harvest willow?

Willow is harvested during the dormant season. This can be any time after the leaves have fallen and before growth starts in the spring – usually November through March.

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What type of willow is used for baskets?

There are three willow tree species commonly grown as basket willow trees: Salix triandra, also known as almond willow or almond-leaved willow. Salix viminalis, often known as common willow. Salix purpurea, a popular willow known by a number of alternate names, including purple osier willow and blue arctic willow.

Which willow is best for weaving?

The Somerset Levels (where we grow over 60 willow varieties on 100 plus acres) are renowned for producing some of the most important species used in basketry and sculpture work; Salix triandra, (Almond-leaved willow) Salix purpurea (Purple willow) and Salix viminalis (the Osier). Willow is so versatile.

How long does willow need to dry?

Bundles are tied (loosely) and brought into an airy shed to dry out. This process can take up to four months depending on the climate. They need to dry out completely before using them to weave.

Do you soak willow?

You can soak willow in a soaking bag, in the bath (be aware that the tannins in the willow bark may stain your bath) or in an outdoor pond or pool. Water butts are also handy (some people recommend using large drain pipes capped at one end). … Whilst working with the willow, keep it covered so that it does not dry out.

Can you over soak willow?

Keeping buff willow damp for too long (especially in warm weather) results in the willow going greasy and mouldy. The rods may also squash if used. Once thoroughly dried, the willow can be re-soaked and used once more. Repeated re-soaking causes the rod to lose its colour.

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How long does willow take to season?

Unlike oak which takes two years to season willow logs can be ready to burn in three months.

Can all willows be coppiced?

The stump and root system are left untouched and many coppice crops grow on old stumps – up to 50 years old for willow and much older for hazel and the hardwoods. Many trees can be coppiced and they all have a different cycle depending on the product required.

What is willow coppice?

By late Spring they will be in leaf. It really is that simple! Pollarding, is when you have a willow tree and cut back the branches to around a foot long from the main trunk. The rods will then grow in the same way as they do from stools but much higher up.

What is the difference between wicker and willow?

The first question that is often asked is the difference between willow and wicker. Essentially, they are the same thing, willow is the raw material that is used to make a willow, or wicker basket! Willow grows in strands from the ground, it is very fast growing and well suited to growth in many parts of the world.

How fast do willow whips grow?

How fast does willow grow? If the weather is kind, you can almost watch your willow grow! Once a willow is established (we can usually start harvesting after 3 years) you can expect feet of growth throughout the summer. We grow varieties here which can grow 8 feet in just a couple of months.

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What does Basket willow look like?

Basket willows are special species of willow that have been grown for centuries specifically for basket weaving and farm use. The stems are flexible and can be bent at a 90-degree angle without breaking when they are green. They grow straight, without branching in their first-year growth.

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