Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Willow in a stock-fenced hedgerow?  (Read 3548 times)


  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: where 2nd-home owners rule !
Re: Willow in a stock-fenced hedgerow?
« Reply #15 on: October 09, 2020, 09:00:49 pm »
And then there are Giant Willow Aphids that I have also had to deal with:  they are truly large (size of a house-fly say) which congregate in densely packed groups.  These have previously settled on my fast-growing Swedish Hybrid 2 plantings (bio-fuel/hedging variety):  I've not found them on anything else, but that might just be because I spotted them early enough to eradicate (organically) before colony could establish itself on my willow patch (??).

Now then, all trees will have their nasty little bugs that can create havoc and I'm not saying willows are worse than other trees, but I (like you SiN) would be interested in other willow growers' experiences with pests.


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire Borders
Re: Willow in a stock-fenced hedgerow?
« Reply #16 on: November 27, 2020, 12:14:44 am »
We started planting willow as a hedge/windbreak/feed source a couple of years ago.  Here in West Wales it is both windy and wet and they seem to be thriving rather than just sirving. A few striggle when our Herdwicks really attack them )especially when they jump the stock fence and binge on the shoots) but we have taken to cutting the stems back and planting the new shoots to replace the damaged ones. Also helps to thicken out the base.  Come the summer we chop the tops and feed them to our Angora hoats who go absolutely crazy for them.

We have planted three rows between stock fence and it is generally OK. Last year added a few hazel, silver birch and hornbeam to add variety. The hazel is growing slowly (the herdwick eat it faster than it grows!!!) but the hornbeam seems to be doing OK.

As for variety we opted for hybrid willow sticks (60cm) from Bowhayes Trees which were a reasonable price, although we are now self sufficient in replacement whips to plant.

We could have applied for a grant for the planting but as always seems the case, the terms and conditions made it not worth the effort. A 1m gap between the trees and the fence would lose too much valuable field space, we can tolerate a certain amount of browsing, but mainly they wanted high percentages of blackthorn which was exactly what we were trying to get away from. Spend most of our time getting rid of blackthorn (and barbed wire) and have the scars to prove it - hate the stuff!!!

Willow may not be the most diverse hedgerow (although apparently it supports a lot of critters!) but it grows really fast (6-8ft in the first year and then starts thicken out as you cut back) and we also have about 3 acres of ancient wet woodland (including 300 year old oaks) and another 1.5 acres of mixed deciduous woodland we planted when we first moved in (now pushing 15-30feet high after 8 years) so I can live with my conscience on this one.


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