of Willow Sculptures
1st summer: Ensure that the ground around
the willow does not dry out completely. This may entail watering
a few times during the course of the 1st summer. Depending
on the soil type (a sandy soil will dry out quicker, a clay soil
will stay moist longer but will take more to resoak it once it has
dried out) give the ground a good soak if there has not been rain
for 1 week - especially if this happens within the first few months
of being planted. If the structure hasn't been mulched keep
the growth of weeds down by cutting them off at the base - take
care not to damage the stems or disturb the soil around the bases
of the willows.
Vertical growth should be very strong in the first summer. You
can encourage growth at a lower level by pruning or nicking the
bark above a bud to create a thicker screen of foliage.
1st winter: Winter is the time to decide
what form the sculpture will take for the following year - is it
to be free and easy or do you want to retain the original shape?
If you want to retain the original shape then first look for gaps
or weak areas that would benefit from some of the growth woven in
or areas where extra planting could be beneficial. Cut off
the remaining excess growth to within 1cm of the stem with secateurs
or loppers for the larger stems.
From then on: If you want to keep the sculpture
to an original shape then you can treat it like a hedge and trim
it a few times a year (avoid August/beginning of Sept as the new
growth produce after may get frosted off). Most people however
seem to prefer watching the structure change shape over the year
and do a once a year cut back in the winter. You should not
have to water the willow after the 1st year. The coloured
willows will generally show the best colour on one year old growth
achieved by an annual cut.