Everyone knows the baskets and baskets in all kinds of sizes, but willow twigs are also used, for example, in dikes and sheeting of ditches and canals.
Plaiting willow trees on the spot in gardens seems to be getting more popular by the day. And that’s no wonder, because such a woven wall, tunnel or playhouse looks extraordinarily natural. Moreover, it fits completely in the current sustainable time.
Willow twigs come from willow forests, also known as pilot whales. Every year the fresh flexible twigs are cut and bunched there for processing.
Due to the flexibility of the willows, any shape in a garden can be made. Dozens of applications can now be seen in the Gardens of Appeltern , from Berceaux to tree houses, but of course also the straightforward fence.
Our partner from Aalsburg travels throughout the Netherlands. They have recently started making custom prefab screens and also supply do-it-yourself packages for anyone who wants to try it out for themselves.
FIRST SOME GENERAL EXPLANATION
The Dutchman has been working with willow twigs for centuries. A willow toe is the waterlot of a willow that grows back very quickly every year if you cut it off. The twigs were and still are used in all kinds of practical matters, such as baskets and baskets, but also in constructive applications such as sheeting and floating pieces in waterworks and bank management. Willows in combination with loam were also used to build houses and barns. Quite logical actually because the willow wood is relatively cheap, very flexible, lasts quite a long time, and grew everywhere on moist soils (pilot whales). Almost everyone in the countryside used to have free access to it.
If you want to know more about pollard willows and pollard trees, take a look at: ” About pollard willows and pollard trees “.
THE VAN AALSBURG FAMILY GROWS AND PROCESSES
The van Aalsburg family has been working in the willow trees for generations . They currently operate approximately 100 hectares of pilot plantations. Through tradition and passion for the product, they have all the knowledge and experience for the correct cultivation and processing of the willow branches. Every year, enormous amounts are mowed, sorted and allocated to various projects for municipalities and water boards. Fortunately, there are also enough left over for fences in gardens. With more than 80 employees, van Aalsburg is the largest grower and supplier in the Netherlands.
WHY IS THE WILLOW TOE POPULAR IN THE DUTCH GARDEN?
In the first place it has to do with the fact that the willow toe suits us a bit. It is a typical Dutch product that we unconsciously grew up with. Pollard willows like almost everyone, especially the older ones, which have already been torn open. Years ago, in De Tuinen van Appeltern, we placed a 150-metre-long avenue of trees that had to be cleared elsewhere due to a road widening. There is also a pollard willow garden in the Gardens of Appeltern !
Willow cloves are not expensive and at the same time a very sustainable product, in terms of cultivation and application. The willow fence is completely Cradle to Cradle and it enriches our biodiversity. This already starts in the willow fields, but the willow wicker fence is also a welcome object in the gardens for all kinds of insects, butterflies and birds. With wicker you are also fairly free in shape. Finally, the natural appearance is also a great plus. Willow twigs are simply beautiful to look at. A wonderful background for all kinds of plants and a fantastic garden partition in practically any garden environment.
THE WILLOW FENCE
A willow fence is a wall of horizontally woven willow trees around chestnut posts or willow trunks. The posts with a length of 2.5 to 3 meters are 65 cm apart. Chestnut posts are maintenance free, the willow trunks will grow and need to be trimmed every winter. The willows (also called bleeslats) with a length of 4 to 5 meters and a thickness of 2.5 to 3 cm. are bent crosswise around the posts and always cut to size after the last bend. An untreated willow fence will last 8 to 10 years. With linseed oil you can (considerably) extend the life. You can have a willow fence braided on site. With special do-it-yourself packages you can also keep the installation in your own hands.
In addition to a willow fence woven on site, the willow ‘wall’ is becoming increasingly popular. With a few pollard willows in your own garden or that of your neighbors, you can build such a wall yourself. You make 2 rows of willow sticks. The rows and the sticks are about two feet apart. One row is staggered from the other. When the freshly pruned canes in the ground have grown for a year, you can start filling the wall. You can add some new branches every year. You can also place the straight offshoots of your plane trees and other trimmed shrubs in the wall. You could also call this a living wall because the willow sticks that you put in the ground will continue to grow and have to be cut off again and again.
WILLOW TOE FACTS
- With willow twigs you can also make other things in your garden than just a fence. Think, for example, of a vegetable box, a gate or door, a bench and also a container place.
- Willow wicker are also woven into a framework (a frame) to create a wicker panel.
- There are several willow species from which cloves can be harvested. One type is clearly less flexible or has a shorter lifespan than the most commonly used types.
- A willow fence does not necessarily have to be straight: any shape (including height) is possible. This also makes them suitable for front gardens.
- Willow wicker fences can be placed from November to June. After that time, the willow wood is too dry to process.
- The willows used for fences have grown on average 2 to 3 years.
- After mowing all the willows on the pilot whales, they are sorted 1 by 1 for the correct thickness and average length
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