Harvesting Willow as a Cash Crop
Willow trees can be grown and their branches harvested as a cash crop for various uses such as decorative arrangements, basketry, furniture, and garden stakes. The raw material from willow harvest can be used to make products or sold to others. The best time for harvesting this first-year growth of Willow is between the end of the growing season and the following spring. The quality of this young wood, including its color, shape, catkins, and flexibility, makes it ideal for practical uses. There are two methods for encouraging this first-year growth: coppicing and pollarding. Coppicing involves pruning the willow tree back to a short trunk near the ground, which allows for mechanical harvesting. On the other hand, pollarding allows the main trunk to grow higher before it is pruned. Pollarding is effective in keeping willow leaves above deer browsing height. Choosing between coppicing and pollarding will give you the flexibility to customize how you harvest your annual Willow crop.