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Advice on living willow on the allotment?

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Joined: 20 Mar 2018
Posts: 1
Location: Bower Ashton 12A

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:29 pm    Post subject: Advice on living willow on the allotment? Reply with quote


I'm seeking to better understand the approach to living willow on the HWDAA allotment sites. i wonder what experiences others have had?

My allotment rep as pointed out that willow is a tree, and not a fruit tree, and I can't argue with the truth of this. However, not all willow is invasive and if pruned into small structures it does not grow tall or create large stumps to remove. It can suck up moisture but planted in the right spot this need not be unduly detrimental. It is also very good for bees, providing through its early catkins (Feb/March) some of the first critical food for bumble bee queens exiting hibernation. Much better than bamboo for instance, which I'm not sure is classed as a tree??

I'm certain that there are people on HWDAA sites, including my Bower Ashton site, who have planted willow osiers. I know there are other Bristol allotments where people grow willow for basketry. There are also lots of websites about willow and its value on allotments for creating small fedges, domes, arches etc; they mention its value in creating willow water for rooting roses too, as well as its use for basketry (which I also do), and drying for crafts (e.g. lantern parade lanterns, garden ornaments) etc

I see it as a valid productive plant to grow and have created a small living willow arch into my fruit patch and have started on a small play dome for my toddler to keep the allotment a fun outdoor expereince for her too while i work. This is the limit of my willow ambition - and i thought this much preferable than creating something out of dead withies....But they was told off for planting illicit trees (which never crossed my mind)

Before I rip it all out like a good girl I'd love to know if the letter of the law on non-fruit trees is being followed for willow consistently across all HWDAA sites or if in fact I should be allowed to make a case for one or both of my structures on my plot to the relevant oversight committee Smile

Yours enquiringly,

Bonnie (BA 12A)
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Joined: 20 Mar 2018
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 10:14 am    Post subject: Non - Fruit Trees Reply with quote

Clause 12 of the Tenancy agreement only says "small" fruit trees - nothing else. My experience as a Site Rep (retired) is that trees of whatever breed, including old fruit trees, are a pain to deal with. It's all right while the original plot holder is looking after the tree(s) but when the tenant has gone (as they do quite frequently) the new tenant is not interested and the tree gets totally out of control. We've had the same problem with beach hedges. We then either have a lot of hard work digging it out or paying a tree surgeon to cut it down and remove it. And that is why, Bonnie, we specify only dwarf fruit trees. Sorry to be negative.
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