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Strengthening river banks

I purchased an old Blacksmiths 5 years ago which sits on the banks of a river in west Yorkshire and the person we bought the house from cut down trees that were on the banking. A stupid thing to do I know as trees are there to strengthen river banks.

Anyway I tried on several ocassions to get advice from so called gardeners but their ideas were from staking netting to pile driving and no one suggested the planting of willows.

It was a nightmare trying to get hold of willows so I decided to take cuttings from willows that were already on the river bank and basically put them in a bucket of water. (How difficult could this be?) After a few weeks they started to root and after about 5 weeks decided to plant them on the banking. This was last year around July and I know that Willows do need to be planted around March time as the growth period is March/April - October. Around 40 were planted and all have taken.

40 is a little too many but I had no idea which would take and which wouldn't.

I am sure that I will have to remove a few of them.

As we live by the river we don't want these grow to great heights.

Can anyway give me advice on how and what I should do?












  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,839

    Just pull or dig up the surplus trees.  The remainder can be controlle din one of two ways.

    We have pollarded willows growing along a stream that makes the boundary between our paddock and the neighbour's.   This involves cutting them back in autumn or winter while they are dormant and taking the branches back to a main trunk about 3 metres high.  This can be done every year and needs to be done every couple of years or it becomes a huge job.

    Another possibility would be to stool them which just means cutting them back to a low stump.   This method is easier to do yourself and the cut stems are very useful for willow weaving so can be sold or given away or you could have a go yourself.  Pleanty of info on the net.  The cut stems can also be used as plant supports in the garden but dry them out first or they'll root!

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    When you cut back the willows, just stick a few cuttings in the places you want them to grow.  They must be the easiest plant in the world to propogate.

  • mickwozzymickwozzy Posts: 2

    Thanks for the information.

    The 2nd of your suggestions (stool) is where I need to go and presumably cut them back in winter as well. Could I cut these all the way back to lets say 6-12 inch without causing the willow to be damaged? 

    Your input is very much appreciated.


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