growing and care

Willow loves water and loves light ...

preferred soil conditions?

Can tolerate most soils but does not like long periods of dry soil, needs little feeding as they feed well from the natural composting of the leaves they shed. It is important to keep them weed free around the trunk as that does stifle willows.

preferred light, shade and water conditions?

Love water, needs to be beside or close to water and needs light to prosper. Willow is another ideal tree for helping boggy land become less boggy. It is essential to keep willows far away from water supplies and drains as they will reach out to them and quickly destroy them.


Different species have different bud styles, usually very small and plentiful presenting themselves after the leaves have fallen in November and sometimes as late as early December. when the leaves fall at the end of October or early November. More buds develop through late January and February as this tree does not sleep long through winter. These buds open into leaves around early to mid April.


Different willows species have different types of catkins from the very long gree to white ones to the ball shaped pussy catkins from fluffy white to yellow pollen balls. Catkins tend to grow just before or the same time as buds opening from late March to mid April.

fruit and seeds

Tiny seed form and blow in the wind within white hairs of the catkins and can propagate within two to six weeks.

The most popular method of propagation of willows is to cut sticks from the branches and stick in compost. They usually root within a moth to provide new trees. This is very effective during the November to early March dormant and semi dormant time.


Similar to Alder, Willow is becoming popular as a biomass, mainly wood chip, fuel. Willow can be coppiced more frequently than Alder, every 3 years, and does not usually require and much drying.

However, since ancient times the coppicing of Willow has mainly been for creating an abundance of basket making and thatching material.

Today, coppiced Willow is perhaps the most efficient wood for being biofuel self sufficient in the home. An acre of land is needed. For fuel logs Willow would be coppiced every 5 years so a 5 year rotation would need to be set up.

Plant willows a metre apart and 1.5 metres between rows. 500 Willow trees should yield 5 tons of coppiced branches for fuel legs every 5 years and most homes can get by on 5 tons of this fuel a year.

These 500 trees should cover a fifth of an acre to supply one year's fuel.
So a full acre can be home to 2500 Willow trees
that provide 5 years of fuel logs through each coppice cycle.
If you can spread your 2500 trees wider with more than an acre available#
your yield is going to be higher.

ecosystem effects 

Willow roots are often wider than the trnk above the ground. This causes them to be excellent preservers of river banks and they often serve well on field banks beside ditches to prevent soil erosion from the fields and prevent ditches silting up.

Willows are a huge asset for bees, other propagating insects and beneficial insects generally.

to read about the healing and nourishment qualities of Willow, please click here