Willow Spiling: sustainable erosion control:
Spiling is the most common method of
bank revetment using willow. It involves weaving live willow rods
between live willow stakes set into the affected bank at regular
Willow spiling work is usually carried out
between November and April while the willow is dormant.
Willow is cut and woven between stakes during winter
Within a few months, the willow spiling should achieve a dense top growth
and a root mat should be formed.
The root mat provides the bank with
added strength to withstand erosion arising from wave action.
The willow weave and stakes sprout in spring
Top growth can be allowed to grow to
form a screen for the bank or controlled by cutting or grazing if
access is required in the future.
There are a few considerations to bear
in mind when considering using willow spiling to prevent water erosion:
- Willow will not grow below the late
spring/early summer water level - for erosion problems below this
level a combined solution may be required. This
could include the use of stones or hazel faggots to reduce wave
- Willow does not grown well in shade.
Existing tress may require coppicing before spiling is carried
- The watercourse needs to be large
enough so that the willow will not dominate. Using live willow
on small streams may not be suitable.
Click on our spiling price list page for a guide to costs.
Try our checklist to find out if willow spiling is for you.
This is a link to a fascinating article on various willow spiling projects in the UK: Willow spiling: review of streambank stabilisation projects in the UK
You will find more information about erosion control on our wildlife landscaping site.