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Living Willow Hedge Planting Guide

  1. Living willow grows in most soils but avoid free draining soils as willow prefers ground that’s wet / moist.
  2. Avoid planting living willow near building foundations or drainage pipes - at least 1.5 x the maximum intended hedge height away.
  3. Plant willow at the right time of the year when the living willow is dormant— Beginning of December to the end of March.
  4. Plant the willow rods or whips as soon as you can after delivery.
  5. Don’t plant if the ground is frozen.
  6. Living willow grows much better without competition ! So clear existing vegetation for at least 0.25m from the hedge using Roundup or similar.  For a more eco friendly method lay a mulch sheet along the line of the intended hedge to kill off the vegetation. It’s easier to lay the mulch mat if you mow the area beforehand.
  7. Use pegs to hold the mulch mat in place or ‘slit’ the edge of the mat into the ground using a spade or edging tool.
  8. Living willow hedges can be planted in single, double or triple rows depending on the required hedge density.
  9. Plant each willow row 200 mm apart and in each row space the living willow rods 300 mm apart. See planting layouts for more information on spacing.
  10. A metal spike fractionally larger in diameter than the living willow rod is the best method for making a hole for planting. We supply a tool for this purpose which makes the job easier especially for a large number of willow rods.
  11. To plant the living willow rods, push the metal spike 12” into the ground, and as soon as you withdraw it, insert the willow rod. This is especially true if you’re making a hole through the mulch mat with the spike as it’s all too easy to ‘lose’ the hole under the matting.
  12. Don’t slit the mulch mat as the extra gap you create will only help grass and weeds to get a hold right next to the willow.
  13. By holding the living willow rod 12” up from the bottom of the rod when you insert it into the hole you’ll be sure it’s not been set too shallow.
  14. Don’t force living willow rods into the hole as it may damage the bark and decrease the chances of success.  Use a larger diameter spike if necessary or ‘wiggle’ the spike around to enlarge the hole. Ensure the hole is not collapsing as the spike is removed and that the willow rod is not being inserted at an angle.
  15. Tread the soil in around the willow to ensure the rod is bedded in. If you are using a mulch mat you won’t be able to see if the rod is a snug fit in the hole or not, so tread in regardless.
  16. Give the living willow a good watering after planting.
  17. Cover the ground either side of the living willow hedge with mulch to keep the moisture in and to keep the weeds at bay. Even covering a mulch mat with mulch, helps and improves the aesthetics.



Now wait for spring time!


Time now to read our tips on caring for your hedge


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