How to Weave a Willow Fence

Written by tanya khan
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Weaving willow branches into fences, baskets and furniture is an America tradition practised even today. The flexible branches of the willow tree bend easily to form decorative and sturdy fences or trellises. A wattle-type willow fence serves a functional yet decorative purpose in the area that recycles natural resources to add rustic charm while prohibiting free entry. Instead of installing commercial fencing, weave a willow fence around your garden or yard to save on costs.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Powdered chalk
  • 1 1/2-inch posts
  • Hatchet
  • Mallet
  • Willow branches, 1-inch-wide, 7 feet long
  • Pruners

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure and mark the area where you want to install the fence with powdered chalk. Starting at a corner, mark five spots spaced 14 inches apart from one another to outline fence post locations for each 6-foot-long willow hurdle or fence section.

  2. 2

    Sharpen the base of each of the five 1 1/2-inch posts with a hatchet. Ensure each post is 12 inches higher than the desired height of the hurdle.

  3. 3

    Drive each post 12 inches into the ground over the marked spot with a mallet. Step back to check whether the tops of the posts are level.

  4. 4

    Weave a 7-foot-long willow branch in and out of the posts to form the first row. Extend the branch in front of the first post, behind the second, in front of the third, behind the fourth and in front of the fifth post, allowing its ends to protrude the end posts by several inches. Push this branch down so it rests directly above the ground.

  5. 5

    Weave another 7-foot-branch over the previous branch to form the second rail or row. Reverse the weave to start this branch on the side of the end post opposite to the previous one and alternate the base end with tip end. Lower this woven branch to your desired height between the posts, depending on how tight or loose you want the weave on the fence.

  6. 6

    Weave the third branch above the previous two, starting it in the same direction from the end post as the previous one. Repeat this process of weaving branches until you form a hurdle. Weave branches for remaining hurdles to form the entire fence.

  7. 7

    Trim off excess branch length from the sides using pruners. If desired, weave smaller or narrower willow branches to fill visible gaps between rails.

Tips and warnings

  • You need 30 1-inch-wide willow branches to form a 3-by-5-foot hurdle or fence section.
  • Drive a length of rebar to make guide holes for the fence posts if working with hard soil such as clay.
  • Push each rail or row down so it rests tightly against the one directly below it to form a sturdy fence.

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