Uses for Willow in the Garden

Willow is an incredibly useful tree to have in your garden. Willows are not only attractive trees that attract, house and feed plenty of native wildlife, they are also extremely versatile resources. Here is a list of just some of the uses of willow that make it such a useful plant to have around:

Willow hedgingFedges and Garden Structures

Willow whips can be planted to create a beautiful barrier that is a cross between a fence and a hedge. This living fence, or fedge, can be a useful and attractive barrier on the fringe of your garden or to separate areas within your space. Using the same principles, willow saplings can be trained into a wide Willow archesrange of different arbours, bowers, trellises, arches and other living garden structures.

Willow basketFor Crafting and Art Projects

Willows can also be coppiced, for use in a wide range of different art and craft projects and to make useful objects around the home. Thin willow branches can be used for basketry and weaving projects, while thicker branches can be used for more sculptural/ structural work. Willow is also used to make charcoal for artists.

Improving and Stabilising Waterlogged Land

Willow tree by waterWhen left to grow on a piece of land, willows can help to improve and stabilise the soil. Willows are very thirsty trees and will seek out water in the area. If you struggle with waterlogged soil in your garden, a willow could help to solve the problem.

Providing Natural Rooting Hormone

Young, first year shoots and twigs that have green bark can be used to make 'willow water', which can be used to help cuttings you have taken from other plants to grow. Simply soak the chopped twigs in water for several days or boil like a tea and allow to cool. This liquid can then be strained and used for rooting cuttings for up to two months (when kept in the fridge).

For Natural Pain Relief

Willow bark also contains a form of natural pain relief, similar to aspirin. In fact, white willow bark contains salicin, which was used to develop aspirin in the 1800s. Salicin in willow bark has been used for centuries to reduce pain and inflammation and still is to this day.

Why not consider whether you could grow some willow in your own garden?