What are Willow Whips?

I've been researching on how to make a little temporary-type shelter and came across making a teepee by using willow whips. However, I can't find any definition for what a "willow whip" is! It appears that once placed in the ground, and woven into a teepee, it will stay there and will leaf. So could a willow whip be a cutting from a willow tree that will grow on it's own?

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Hey! I found the following information so...

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Of course you could in theory take clippings from hedgerows, although it would be wise to ask permission of the landowner first, and ensure only a few whips per plant are taken to avoid making the hedge livestock proof! It also takes an awful long time and a long long lane in which to collect 1.500 whips. Goat willow isn't suitable for willow or biofuel, it has a slow growth rate giving short whips and lots of branching.

Left to grow willow will take on the form of a tree, or if clipped, a bush. When coppiced (this means pruning it down to near a few centimeters above ground level in winter) it will then throw up multiple shoots (whips) ideal for basket weaving. Leave them grow five years or so and the straight whips have thickened enough to harvest for firewood.

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More Info:

A tip is to cut the willow right back after the first year and they grow more vigorously the subsequent year. One person trimmed back a golden willow after year one and a year later the cutting had 20 whips growing, an inch thick in some cases and over 8 feet long!

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So here's the plan... when we get to our new homestead, we'll purchase (or find a free source - Colorado friends?) of willow cuttings (whips) and plant about 6 feet apart or so, and allow them to grow. We'll also plant some in a circular pattern to make a living teepee. Others we'll allow to grow into trees, and some into bushes.

  • living teepee
  • supplies for making baskets and hats
  • living large border which could afford a LOT of privacy
  • grown up trees can be chopped for firewood


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