Living Willow Planting in Parks
By Mark Dempsey
Calderdale Parks and Streetscene are about to plant 2000 hardwood cuttings of willow in parks throughout Calderdale.
"The object of the exercise is to create environmental sustainable park features such as igloos, mazes, obelisks, sun shelters, tree arbours etc. Some of the potential uses of living willow should also lead to health and safety improvements such as preventing access to possible hazardous areas like water and step falls in some parks" stated Mark Dempsey, Support Services Manager for Calderdale Parks and Streetscene.
The cuttings, which are small (about 9" long) will be planted within the next month. "They won't be noticed and being small are less likely to be disturbed. I would anticipate a rooting rate of about 50% and they could grow up to 6' to 8' in the first year."
It is then intended next year (spring time) to hold some willow weaving events in parks where the cuttings have successfully rooted and create structures and shapes as stated above whilst the plant is still supple.
The willow cuttings have been collected by Mark and his family from a friends garden in Chester where willow has been planted in terraces to prevent gardens from collapsing into the river Dee. The project has been devised by an environmental structural beginner as an alternative and more sustainable method to prevent ground erosion on a sloping river bank site.