As above has anyone sown an area of willow for their own use? We have a corner of a field less than half an acre which I am considering planting with willow and harvesting with a chainsaw. It can hardly be any worse than the bog? Are there varieties that will grow to a 4/5 inch log after 5/6 years? My idea would be to harvest a row or 2 every year and leave 5 years growth till your back to that row. Is this feasible or am I mad?
Ordinary Sally will nearly self seed. But will easily grow from cuttings. It should reach 4 to 5 inches well after 5 years. Why not throw in a bit of variety though. Some Alder, river birch, Ash, even maple for a bit of colour. All will coppice well and produce a great return.
Cheers. Never thought of adding in a few different varieties. How long would you have to wait before the first coppice?
Depends on species alder and Sally around 4 to 5 years , Ash up to 7 , Birch around 6 to 7 and maple around 7 to 8 but up to 10 to get bigger diameter. I have 6 inch at base alder after 4 years so depends on ground and growing conditions really. There are plenty others that also really coppice well. If the spot is really wet consider swamp Cyprus and even metasequoia (dawn redwood) a really beautiful tree imo.
Great info cheers. It's a real wet spot that I'm considering. I was hoping to put in 10 rows and have a 5 year rotation.
That sounds like a plan but as i say look at variety as monoculture leaves you vulnrable to disease such as chalera in ash for example. I've done something very similar on about 1.2 acres got around 300 trees in. It's there now around 3 years. But there's an early section around 6 years old ready for thinning. I'm guessing it's for heating the house etc. If your down south try future forests in Cork they give some great advice on varieties for wet ground although I'm sure there are plenty others providers.... Perfect time of year also for planting as bare root trees will become available in January. Enjoy and im sure the birds and wildlife will also be grateful.
Have a look at the non-native biomass varieties of willow. I think we only have three native varieties and certainly not all of them take from cuttings. If you are doing this for your own fuel perhaps look into the new varieties of Eucalyptus for a fast grown biomass. Willow isn't great firewood.
Yeah this project is for firewood for the house. I'm open to all suggestions for what to plant. The site is boggy so the trees would need to be able to thrive on a wet site. I will look into the Eucalyptus does it burn better than the willow?
It sparks and pops like mad so its only really usable in stove but would be a much better fuel than willow. There are hundreds of varieties of Eucalyptus but i don't think many like boggy sites. Birch, Alder, Willow are probably your best bet for fast grown timber here Birch being the best for firewood.
I have planted half a field with 8 different varieties of willow over the past 3 years, 500 trees. The first 4 varieties I planted are not fast growing, apart from one variety which is doing very well. The other 4 varieties I bought by mail order from a specialist willow supplier are doing very well after 2 years. I have started the coppice rotation and just cut down a row of 3 year trees and have them logged for seasoning. We'll see next year how good they are as a fueI! I have also planted a good few birches and while they grow very well they are a lot slower than the willow. So the wait is a while longer for birch. My field is quite wet in winter but that is no problem for willow.
Good info Tasty. What size area did you plant, any photos and any regrets??
Sounds like ypu are doing exactly what i was aiming to do? A couple of questions. Where they hard to harveat by hand? What sort of size logs did the 3 year old trees make? Can you remember the names of the varieties that did best?
It's only about a quarter of an acre, not enough to be self sufficient, but I hope to get a reasonable supply when the full 5 year rotation starts. As regards regrets - maybe one is not getting the fast growing biomass varieties at the start.
I have lots of photos but can't figure out how to post one here.
Not hard to harvest at this stage. I used a bow saw. Diameter of logs up to 3 inches but smaller also. Of the first batch I planted Smithiana is good, the others only a curiosity at this stage: cinerea, triandra and fragilis. Nice to have a few samples of them but slow growing. The 4 biomass hybrids are very good. There's 2 types of viminalis - the supplier named them hybrid 1 and hybrid 2!). Another is dasyclades and the 4th is called hybrid green.