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Cascadian Native willow for baskets?

 
Posts: 175
Location: Philomath, OR
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I've heard that the native willow here is not good for basketry. Can anyone dispute that? You might ask, well why don't you try it? It takes a year for willow canes to be ready for basketry so I'd like to harvest only willow that will work. Any help is much appreciated! Especially during the last days of willow harvesting time...
 
steward
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Location: woodland, washington
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I'm not much help, but I do know that there are plenty of willows around that aren't native to the region.
 
steward
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Boy, that would have been a perfect question for Heidi Bohan! I copied this topic to the ancestral skills forum. Maybe someone who hangs out there/here will have some info.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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Tel, I've gone and harvested at sketchy places (the mall, gas stations...) where people have landscaped with non-native willow. I just happen to be surrounded by native willows where I live and feel less worried about harvesting. My solution for now is to go up to Dunbar Gardens in Mount Vernon and get basket willow sticks for creating my own willow garden. But that will take a year...

Jocelyn, I know. I should have asked! Thanks for cross posting. My friends have tried to tell me spirea was also used, but I really doubt that.
 
tel jetson
steward
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red osier dogwood is another possible candidate. grows in a lot of the same places willows do. that still doesn't answer your question, of course.

wouldn't hurt to harvest a small-ish sample of your local willows to try them out. if they turn out great, you've only lost a year.
 
Dennis Lanigan
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I just went ahead and harvested a small amount of native and non-native willow. It was starting to bud out here so I took that as a cue (I harvested only non-budding willow). The hypothesis from my more experienced friends is the non-native willow will likely NOT work, but that it really depends on plant by plant/stick by stick basis. And, we are not planning to make baskets for sale so we just harvested what we thought will work for our own uses. We also harvested a bunch of red osier dogwood for good measure. A lot of the willow sticks, especially the bigger sticks we harvested, are going into the ground for the living bridge we're building (we built a suspension bridge and will just form willow, hardy kiwi, etc. around it).
 
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