Using willow as a bioenergy plant is a renewable energy source that can provide many benefits. It can be grown on land where other crops cannot grow, it produces multiple products including fuel and biomass, it is relatively easy to maintain, and its rate of return can be good over a long period of time.
The first step is to decide what type of willow you want to use for your project. There are a lot of different varieties available, each with its own unique look and characteristics. It’s important to choose a variety that will grow well in your area and that is suitable for your purposes.
Willow can be shaped into fences, arches, windbreaks and more garden features that are both decorative and functional. They can also be used to create a more natural environment for children, and are perfect for schools or homes that need privacy.
When choosing a variety, consider the shape and texture of the tree or shrub as well as how well it grows in your local climate. For example, Salix viminalis is a common choice for landscape plantings in Scotland but also works well in Ireland and Canada.
A wide variety of shapes are possible with a range of stem colours, from greens to browns, silvers and purples. They can be trimmed into thin wires for fencing or to create arches and screens, or left more open in order to achieve a natural effect.
Having chosen your willow species, you need to make sure that it is healthy and mature. If you’re planning to harvest it for a fence, then pick it up in the colder months when the sap is down. Otherwise, you will end up with a structure that will be brittle and break when it hits the ground.
Another advantage is that willow can be grown on bare land or fallow soil, which improves soil conditions and microbial diversity. This is particularly useful in more northern regions where other energy plants do not thrive as well.
You can buy ready-made living willow hedge sections that come in 1m widths and 1.2 to 2.5m high. They are planted directly into the topsoil to a depth of 60cm (2 feet) and then secured with ties. The ties are strong enough to hold the fence in place and help the roots to develop.
It’s a good idea to pick a species that is drought-tolerant and resistant to pests such as powdery mildew, white mold, mildew and mildew fungi. You can also find hybrid willows that are produced through botanist crossings. These hybrids will grow faster than a non-hybrid willow and can reach 70 feet in height.
The second step in making an energy willow hedge is to plan out a layout. The best way to do this is to take some measurements and get some ideas about what you want your finished product to look like. This will help you to decide whether you need a large amount of willow or just a few rods.