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JPR Environmental
The Malthouse
GL10 3DL

Tel: 01453 822 584
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living willow structures

Willow Spiling: sustainable erosion control:

Spiling is the most common method of bank revetment using willow. It involves weaving live willow rods between live willow stakes set into the affected bank at regular intervals.

Willow spiling work is usually carried out between November and April while the willow is dormant.

willow spiling installation on a housing estate

Willow is cut and woven between stakes during winter

Within a few months, the willow spiling should achieve a dense top growth and a root mat should be formed.

The root mat provides the bank with added strength to withstand erosion arising from wave action.

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The willow weave and stakes sprout  in spring

Top growth can be allowed to grow to form a screen for the bank or controlled by cutting or grazing if access is required in the future.

There are a few considerations to bear in mind when considering using willow spiling to prevent water erosion:

  • Willow will not grow below the late spring/early summer water level - for erosion problems below this level a combined solution may be required. This could include the use of stones or hazel faggots to reduce wave buffeting.

  • Willow does not grown well in shade. Existing tress may require coppicing before spiling is carried out.

  • The watercourse needs to be large enough so that the willow will not dominate. Using live willow on small streams may not be suitable.

Click on our spiling price list page for a guide to costs.

Try our checklist to find out if willow spiling is for you.

This is a link to a fascinating article on various willow spiling projects in the UK: Willow spiling: review of streambank stabilisation projects in the UK

You will find more information about erosion control on our wildlife landscaping site.

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