Ask a Question forum: Weeping willow for living fence?

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Lynnwood, WA (Zone 7b)
Jul 18, 2017 12:28 PM CST
I have a big beautiful weeping willow in my front yard and was thinking of using cuttings from it to create a woven living fence in my backyard to hide a cyclone fence my neighbor has. Would I just end up with a cluster of willow saplings? My research suggestions that living fences are usually done with willow whips from a different type of willow, but I thought this would be way better than buying enough whips for 30ish feet of fence. Has anyone tried it and been successful?
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Deer Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Jul 18, 2017 12:37 PM CST
Since you have this willow available, why not give it a try? You'd likely have to keep it trimmed up as it will want to be a large tree. Or, you could buy one or two smaller stature willows (lots to choose from, particularly if you go to a native nursery), keep them in pots, and steal whips from them on a slow basis to get your fence going. Pussy willow might be fun, doesn't get as wide or tall as weeping willow and you get the nice catkins. Perhaps you can ask around and find someone who has a mature pussy willow willing to give you some whips?

Edited to add: I didn't even look at your location. I'm about an hour north of you and have tons of native willow. Let me figure out what I have - they grow wild out back. I also have a nice pussy willow. I could get some whips started for you (just stick them in a big bucket of water) and you could plant them out this fall. Let me know if you're interested! We have a PNW group here that meets up every so often for plant swaps and we talked about organizing something for this fall...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
[Last edited by Bonehead - Jul 18, 2017 12:42 PM (+)]
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Eastern Tennessee (Zone 7a)
Jul 19, 2017 7:52 PM CST
I am doing the same thing. I used cuttings from my willow and planted them 6 ft apart along a large length of creek i have. All but 1 of the cuttings took. Most of my cuttings were 6 ft tall or better except for the one that didnt make it and it was a skinny one about 4 ft tall. I just planted them this Feb and will start training them into a fence next spring right before new growth starts to emerge. Im going to keep them at about 8 ft or so.

I did a test tree before I started this project and let the trunk get about 4 or 5 inches and then took off every branch and topped it at about 4 ft iirc and then next spring poof a perfectly shaped mini willow with a thick trunk I could use as a vertical fence rail. The only difference in the test tree and my current plantings is that Ill train the horizontal rails until i get the thickness of trunk I want then top it and remove all branches except my horizontal rails. My hope is that in the spring of that year Ill have some serious growth directed into those rails and it will start to take shape.

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