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Willow Coppicing in Oklahoma

 
                              
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Hi

I'm trying to find out which species of willow would work well in Oklahoma-to be coppiced. I'm wanting to end up with withies or slightly bigger, for doing basketry, furniture, etc.

The problem I'm having chasing down info, is that every site only talks about how cold hardy a given willow is, not how hot hardy. Our summers here tend to be long, hot and dry.

Any advice?
Leigh
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Leigh,

This is a good chance to learn a bit more about Indigenous folks in Oklahoma. I would do some research. Find out what tribes were in the area (I suspect a lot passed through, but I'm not sure which tribes dwelt there originally). Look at their artifacts. If you have a museum in the area, check that out. If the native folks made baskets, you could figure out the materials (willow or not) and try to grow them. That seems like a good place to start. Regardless, you'll learn a lot of good information about your region as you conduct your research.

Looking to indigenous cultures for examples is one of the permaculture design methodologies.

Let us know what materials you come up with.

Dave
 
Leah Sattler
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dave has a superb suggestion. there are lots of indian resources here being "indian territory" until oil was discovered.

I just want to comisserate with you little being a fellow okie. when I want am looking at potential species to plant I want to know how "hardy" they are ...as in are they tough....not how "hardy" they are as in "cold hardy". there  really should be a revision of the use of the word 'hardy' in seed catalogs to clarify for us a little farther south.

a good local nursery can be a great source. as long as they aren't some big time commercial place that just orders what the rest of the stores in the country order. also OSU has some good publications about what varieties actually can handle our wild weather.

for others. just recently we had an area get 7" of rain in an hour. its considered alot even for here but although the 48" of rain total yearly rainfall sounds nice......we get most of it in the spring with strong storm and often hail and damaging winds  that can wipe out a garden in seconds.

the wind in spring and summer can suck the life out of young seedlings in a hurry. ice accumulations in winter destroys trees some years. and 100 degree humid heat in july and august can send everything in to dormancy.

plants that say full sun often require shade here in the heat of summer. growing cool season vegetables can be a real hit and miss endeavor. I can't help but wonder if pests are more of an issue here too. some gardening books make it seem so simple.  some years we just don't get the hard long freezes that help wipe out obnoxious garden pests. I have pulled ticks off me in the middle of january.  I will probably live here forever but it does pose some challenges.

but of course the mild short winters are the exchange. worth it.
 
Gwen Lynn
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Yet another okie here. I'm not native though. Lived in IL for 1/2 my life.

Willows grow in my neighborhood. I've seen Globe Willows & Weeping Willows. I think it's fairly common knowledge that willows like it wet & their root systems have been known to seek sewers, septic tanks, etc.

I live near the Arkansas River. The water table is close, less 15 feet. Some neighbors have dug their own wells, they call them "sand taps". They use the water straight out of the ground for watering their landscapes, etc.

I can only surmise that the willows here are able to reach the water table with their roots. The soil here is sandy loam, doesn't retain moisture for long. I don't think the willows would do well if they weren't getting steady moisture.
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Gwen Lynn wrote:
I think it's fairly common knowledge that willows like it wet & their root systems have been known to seek sewers, septic tanks, etc.

...

I don't think the willows would do well if they weren't getting steady moisture.


Actually, I'm not sure about Oklahoma natives, but there are dryland willow species in other parts of the world. Here in the pacific northwest we have a species called Salix scouleriana that grows near the edges of forests in rocky upland terrain as well as along streambanks. It seems possible that there may be similar willows that would survive in Oklahoma.

However, I'm not sure how these willows would do for basketry. In the spring, when they're producing the long whips used for basketry, I suspect willows want a good amount of water. I can't verify a source, but I think i remember hearing about how some 100+ year old coppice willow patches were placed in such a way that the water could be controlled so that the plants could have their water cut off before the whips produced side branches. This wouldn't work so well if the willows were planted with perennial water access. However, it could work really well as part of a greywater system where you could reroute the greywater to another planting in early summer by flipping a valve.

Heidi Bohan is a local expert in indigenous traditional skills in our area who would probably know more (at least for this area). In fact I think she has participated on this forum before. I suspect you would probably find similar experts in your area if you sought them out.

Good luck!

Dave
 
Gwen Lynn
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Well, springtime is the one time we do get copious amounts of rain. It has rained practically everyday here for like 7 - 9 days! Yeesh!
 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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bdswagger wrote:
Hi

I'm trying to find out which species of willow would work well in Oklahoma-to be coppiced. I'm wanting to end up with withies or slightly bigger, for doing basketry, furniture, etc.

The problem I'm having chasing down info, is that every site only talks about how cold hardy a given willow is, not how hot hardy. Our summers here tend to be long, hot and dry.

Any advice?
Leigh


http://www.old-picture.com/indians/Sucirc-Donii-Osier-Willow-Blossom.htm

Hi Leigh,
We live in a zone 7 oak savannah.   Cool wet winters and hot dry summers.   Usually gets over 100F by july 4th.   The nights are usually cool and occasionally there can be a 50 degree swing in temperature day to night.   Our soil type is referred to as "gravelly loam".    I am growing 5 varieties of Salix right now and after 5 years seem to be doing fine in the long hot summers. [no measurable rain from may to november].    Willow can be drought tolerant, but these are all on drip irrigation.    If you want 6' long canes they will need irrigation during dry spells.   

S. purpurea Nana [dwarf]
S. purpurea Lambertiana
S. fragilis Belgian Red
S. purpurea x Daphnoides
S. purpurea    [tallest]

If you haven't found this book yet check out 'Willow Basketry' by Bernard and Regula Verdet-Fierz
http://www.englishbasketrywillows.com/Books/Techniques.htm

Hope this helps,  cheers


 
gary gregory
Posts: 395
Location: northern california, 50 miles inland from Mendocino, zone 7
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Here's a source for a lot of interesting varieties and information.
http://www.bluestem.ca/willows-basketry.htm

 
                              
Posts: 79
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Wow! Gee thanks folks!

I'm interested not just in basketry, but furniture making also. Anybody here familiar with the book "The Forgotten Crafts" by John Seymour? He did other books as well. He was English, so any plant/tree info was suitable for that part of the world, not here. Anyway, one thing he mentions is planting long willow branches lengthwise in damp, marshy areas and having long straight withies grow from those, ready to harvest for basket making in 3-4 yrs.

I know lots of tribal folks-even related to a few-but not anyone who does much in the way of handcrafts.

I'm in Central Oklahoma... more clay here than sand.

Yeah, we have river-bottom willows here, I just didn't know how well they would work for coppicing.

Yep, we have a branch office of OSU's extension office right here in town. I go in and ask questions-more often call-from time to time. Or hit their website.

Leigh
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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a quick little story..my mother..had hubby cut her a branch from a tree to support the clothesline..to keep clothes from dragging on the ground in the middle..so he cut a forked willow stick about the right height and stuck it in the ground to just hold up the center of the rope..

the next spring they had a willow tree growing there..and it grew mammoth and is still there today..about 60 years later.
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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Brenda,

I like hearing stories like that. When I was in college I studied forestry. I had a forestry professor who told a story about a high school somewhere replacing the goalposts on their football field with willow posts. Sure enough, the following spring they had trees instead of goalposts! That takes using biological resources to a whole new level!

Dave
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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that's great, I 'll have to tell my mom about that one..she'll love it..she turned 89 this last week..the 12th
 
                                  
Posts: 6
Location: Bellingham, Wa
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Coppicing is definitely be used any where

willow species to look at may be

salix nigra
salix amygdaloides
both appear to grow in your area.

you may concider looking for a hazel also they may not have the water demand or perhaps a privet that could give you lots of small diameter wood

http://www.woodsmithstore.co.uk/shop/ is a online shop that has a variety of books and tools to help with your coppicing needs


 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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