The Cricket Bat Willow, Salix alba Caerulea, is a native tree that is common on the coast and is world famous as being the best willow for making cricket bats. It tends to form an upright, conical crown and bears its narrow leaves on the long, whip-like stems that are typical of willow trees. In autumn, the leaves turn a slightly sooty but still rich yellow. Cricket Bat Willows produce small yellow and green catkins just after the young leaves appear in spring and these have some ornamental value on the tree, although they look really good as part of a display of cut flowers. Willows support a wide range of caterpillars and are one of the best trees you can plant to encourage butterflies..
Cricket Bat Willow trees can reach a height of about 20 metres. Standard trees are the largest size that we deliver; you can also buy younger Cricket Bat Willow plants.
How Standard Trees are Measured: All our standards, are graded by their girth in centimetres 1 metre above ground level (basically, their trunk's waist measurement). They aren't measured by their height, which will vary. So, a 6/8 standard has a trunk with a circumference of 6-8 centimetres and an 8/10 standard has a trunk 8-10 centimetres around. This measurement makes no difference to the tree's final height. Standard trees are 2.5 - 4.5 metres tall (on average) when they arrive; they are the most mature trees that you can buy from us.
History & uses of Salix alba Caerulea: The original tree, an unusual female white willow, was discovered about 300 years ago in Norfolk and has been cloned ever since to supply the cricket bat industry - one tree is usually good for making twenty or thirty bats. This single tree can now be found all over England, which is a good example of how a tree's usefulness to humans can drastically change its fortunes. The same qualities that make this wood so good for cricket bats also make it ideal for use in artificial limbs. The young stems are also great for making wicker items and coppicing the tree every year or two will encourage it to produce plenty of useful material.