choice and preparation for your willow sculpture
There are a few points to take into account when deciding if a
site is suitable for planting a willow sculpture.
Buildings: It is well to avoid planting
any willows next to buildings as their roots can be damaging.
Drains: Willows like water and their
roots can find their way into drains and waste pipes. Check
that there are no drains running near to the planting site.
Shade: Willows grow best in full
sun - remember what is sunny in the winter may be shaded when the
sun is more directly overhead.
Soil Type: Willows will grow in most
soil types - in fact once they have become established a poor soil
type will mean that growth is not too prolific.
Water: Many people associate willows
with waterlogged ground, however this is not where they grow the
best. To thrive the roots need to be able to get air so ground
that holds moisture but is not waterlogged for the majority of the
year is ideal.
Once you have decided on the design for your sculpture and the
best site the first job is to mark out where in the ground the willow
rods will be planted.
The line of the willows can be marked out using pegs and string,
a circular structure being marked out using a peg in the centre
with a length of string to show the radius.
To ensure you get the best results the ground to be planted should
be well prepared before the structure is installed.. The soil
should be friable to a depth of c.12 inches which may mean digging
a trench along the line of the structure and, if the soil is very
heavy or prone to drying out, adding compost.
If a mulch mat is to be used to suppress weeds then it should be
cut to shape and put in place before planting, the willows will
be planted through the mat. The mat can be held down using
pegs or by pushing the sides into a slot in the ground with
a spade. The mulched area should extend for 50cm around the structure.
Other mulches which can be used include old carpet, cardboard,
newspaper, straw or bark chippings or a combination. It is
always surprising how thick an organic mulch needs to be to stop
the weed growth so be generous!
If the site is hard then soak the ground for a day or two beforehand
- this will make it much easier to push in the willow.