A willow fence is called a "fedge" because it's constructed as a fence and behaves as a hedge. Willow wands or branches may be arranged in two angled rows that alternate directions, producing criss-crossed diamond shapes that are then tied together where they cross. The flexible willow wands are easy to manipulate and thin enough to be easily clipped to a relatively standard size. You can grow a bushy willow fence by keeping the side shoots and suckers intact. If you trim the side shoots regularly, you'll grow an open-weave willow fence.
Measure the length of property where you'll grow your willow fence. The fence length will determine the amount of materials you will need. You'll need at least one willow wand for every foot of fence. Plan to install support posts every 6 to 8 feet.
Collect your supply of willow wands when the tree is dormant and branches are leafless. The willow leafless period usually extends from November through March.
Clip your willow wands to the desired length. Keep the clipped off ends. You can use those as substitute ties.
Install your support posts. Place the posts 6 to 8 feet apart in holes at least 18 inches deep. Mix the excavated soil from the post hole with a shovelful of pea gravel before replacing the dirt. This will help anchor the post and improve drainage.
Plant one willow wand in the hole with the first support post. Lean it at a 45-degree angle toward the next post. Water well.
Stick a 12-inch screwdriver into the ground about 12 inches from the first support post. Create a narrow hole just wide enough to hold a willow wand.
Continue punching holes into the ground with your screwdriver every 12 inches until you reach the end of the fence. Work your way back to the first post, punching a second parallel row of holes about an inch out from the first row.
Place willow wands into the first row of planting holes. Lean the wands at a 45-degree angle facing toward the end of the fence. Tamp the wands firmly into place.
Fill in the parallel row of holes with willow wands. Lean the second row of wands at 45-degree angles facing the opposite direction from the first row. Tamp the second row down. Water the entire hedgerow well.
Tie the rods together where they criss-cross. Tie the rods that are in front of the support posts to the posts.
Keep the willow fence well-watered. Weed regularly at the base of the fence to keep your willow fence weed-free.
Don't skimp on planting depth. Willows need that depth to develop roots that are strong enough to support your fence.
Tips and warnings
- Don't skimp on planting depth. Willows need that depth to develop roots that are strong enough to support your fence.