This is a general guide and information page, more detailed instructions will be included in the Firewood Kits.
Willow is one of the fastest growing plants native to Europe. This makes is ideal for growing as a Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) for firewood either as wood chips or logs. Growing willow in a 5-year cycle gives you usable fuel in 2-3 years and then annually after that, producing between 3-5 tonnes of dry wood per acre a year.
A low cost and renewable source of fuel which is already used by some power stations!
Benefits of growing Willow as fire wood:
With high energy costs from power suppliers, Willow SCR can be a cost effective way to heat your home.
Willow is the fastest growing and highest yielding crop.
Low maintenance. One planted, weeding or grass cutting around the bases is the only task, apart from the annual harvest.
Benefits to nature. Willow provides essential early nectar for bees and other pollinating insects. It can also be home a many other insects and birds throughout the year.
Easy Harvest. Once a year the willows are stripped of branches back to the base during winter.
Coppice or Pollard?
The difference between these two is simply the height at which you would cut the willow back to each year:
Coppice Kits have a ground level harvest height, the cuttings you plant will stick out just above the ground and new shoots will grow from this height.
Pollard Kits are ideal for areas where rabbits are a problem or where an off ground harvesting height is preferable for health reasons (not having to bend down so much!). Pollard Kits have a harvesting height above ground level at 90cm/3ft).
How Is It Done?
Establishing your own Willow SRC is very simple. On your chosen spot, cut the grass or scrub short, measure out five beds of even size. Lay down the mulch mat straight onto the grass and peg down.
The willow cuttings are then inserted through the mulch mat into the ground where they will take root (no rooting powder or similar needed, so long as it is damp the willow will root)
The willow can then be left to establish itself. During the first summer, if you want a greater quantity of thinner whips for chipping then you would need to go around the plantation and nip off the growing buds to encourage more shoots. If you want fewer, thick branches for logs in wood burners then you would not need to do this.
Keep the grass short in between the rows, check for pest damage through the year but otherwise leave the willow to simply grow.
Your first harvest can be taken after 2-3 years (depending on your desired log thickness), this would be from one of the beds. After that you can, in rotation, harvest one bed per year. The cut wood needs drying and seasoning before use in burners.
Illustration of Willow beds after planting
Photo Of Pollarded Willow Row After Harvest
Illustration of Willow growth year on year