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Living fence / fedge from Willow - spacing

 
Christian Stoehr
Posts: 6
Location: Oakland Township, MI (Zone 5B)
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So I`ve been thinking about 250' of fencing for deer, visual blockage of road and chickens. After some searching I stuble across the UK fascination with Willow fedges. They grow out of 2' or 6' cuttings that are anywhere from $.30 - $1.50 per un-rooted cutting.
They also seem super easy to plant and grow extremely quick. I am thinking of growing them with 1' spacing into a diamond pattern and starting with 6' cuttings, that plant 1' deep.
The only nursery in Michigan that I found it http://www.hramornursery.com/ they sell a hybrid Salix.

1. Does anyone have any experience with doing this. My main questions are if the 1' spacing is good, or if I should go closer. I am worried about the final thickness of the stems in 5 years. I can`t find any reference on that.

2. I heard about some people making container gardens out of these two, by growing a wall the shape of the grow bed and filling it up with dirt. My question there is, will the willow sides start grafting new roots into the bed and competing with the vegetables ?
The picture I found shows the start of it. Not sure what the results were. I found it on arignagardener.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/fedges-and-permaculture-beds/

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Example of willow growbed border
 
Rebecca Norman
gardener
Posts: 1099
Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Those are some gorgeous pictures you found!

I've never made a fence of them or pleached them, but I've planted lots and lots of willows.

Yes, they're easy to plant. Here everyone pollards them (whacks 'em off at head hight) so they make a big bushy bunch of shoots that become thick enough to cut again in 2 or 3 years. We plant these shoots, straightish sticks, when they are about 2 inches thick. Here, they are planted at least 5 feet high so that some leaves and growth can happen above cattle browsing hight (but hungry cattle will strip the bark, so you still have to protect them around here). I seem to get best results with putting 1.5 feet underground. You have to cut them when they're dormant, ideally late winter just before the buds swell, then you stand them in water for a few minutes or days, and then plant them. And water them in well! Water them frequently the first year because they starting to grow roots from scratch.

In my experience, same day cutting and planting had 100% success rate, but people here say it's better to soak for a few days; but in my experience those didn't have 100% success.

Since we're not making a fence, I've never planted them at 1 foot spacing. I suppose if they get plenty of water and fertility below and plenty of sunspace above, it could be okay. It's true that with good conditions the trunks get to be a foot thick in 10 years or so. I don't know if they would when they're so close together though.

Sure, those willow roots can invade a garden bed if it's made of growing willow! But we do have willows 5 feet from the edge of our gardens, and don't get roots in the beds, but that's because the canal watering both runs between them, so I guess the willows just stick around under the canal. We till the garden beds once a year but I haven't seen willow roots in the soil.
 
Christian Stoehr
Posts: 6
Location: Oakland Township, MI (Zone 5B)
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Thanks, I ordered 250 rooted sticks today that are 4-6' long. I`ll probably cut the roots of to be able to just plant them by pushing them into the ground with 1' spacing
Then I ordered 500 cheaper 1-2' sticks that I will use two per foot in between for a diamond pattern. This should make the bottom gaps small enough to keep the chickens in for now and eventually with some girth growth the rabbits out also.

I`ll upload some pictures once I have it finished. Probably will pick them up in late April.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
http://richsoil.com/pdc
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