Purple Willow Sapling Trees
Salix purpureaSapling Trees
- Native. Loves wet soil. Grows v. fast. Small & shrubby.
- Sizes: Saplings only.
- Makes wild hedging. Good for screening.
- Max. Height: 5m
- Bareroot Delivery Only: Nov-Mar.
Salix Purpurea Hedging
Delivered by Mail Order Direct from our Nursery with a Year Guarantee
Purple Willow, Salix purpurea, also called Purple Osier, is more of a large, bushy shrub than a small tree. Salix purpurea has magnificent, striking purple young shoots, which provide ornamental value in winter both on the plant and when cut and brought indoors. The catkins are less showy than on some other willows as they appear around the same time as the leaves open so they tend to be somewhat hidden. But the bark is a glory. To produce the best colour, the plant shoudl be coppiced on atwo yearly cycle with half being cut to the ground each spring. This way you will always have heightto the plant and a good amount of young growth.
Salix purpurea plants are only delivered bareroot, during winter (Nov-March). All our plants are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).
History & uses of Salix purpurea:
Being a small, very vigorous willow, this is one of the favoured types for supplying withies - stems of various sizes for making wicker objects. Osier is an old name for both the withy and the plant. Willows have shallow, wide ranging roots and are great for preserving river banks and other loose soil.
All willows are excellent for bees, butterflies and moths.
Growing Purple Willow plants:
Purple Willow is a shore lover and will thrive in sandy, salty soil as long as it is nice and wet, but also do well on drier soil if it is fertile. Unusually for willows, it prefers an alkaline soil and is fine on chalk. It needs plenty of sun.
Prepare your site before planting:
Native hedge plants like Purple Willow are very tough. The only essential preparation is to kill the weeds in a strip a metre wide along the planting site: improving the soil should not be necessary. If your soil is exceptionally poor and dry, then digging in some well rotted manure and/or compost is worthwhile.
Watch our video on how to plant a country hedge for full details.
Remember to water establishing plants during dry weather for at least a year after planting.
Hedge Planting Accessories:
Prepare your site for planting by killing the weeds and grass with Neudorff WeedFree Plus.
You can buy a hedge planting pack with sheets of mulch fabric and pegs to hold it down.
If you are planting in an area with rabbit and/or deer, you will need to use a plastic spiral guard for each plant, supported by a bamboo cane.
If your soil quality is poor, we recommend using mycorrhizal "friendly fungi" on the roots of new trees and shrubs.
You can also improve your soil with bonemeal organic fertiliser and Growmore.
After you have planted your Purple Willow hedge, the most important thing to do is water it in dry weather. You will also need to weed around the plants. Watering should be thorough, so the ground is soaked. Let the soil almost dry out before watering again. Watering & weeding will be necessary for at least a year after planting.
To coppice Salix purpurea and harvest its stems for weaving, let your plants settle in for a year and then cut them down to less than 30cm tall the following winter. Cut them back like this every winter to encourage a steady supply of useful stems. If you cut them back every other year, you will get thicker, less flexible stems to provide supports for sturdier items.
Special notes on caring for Purple Willow hedges:
Purple Willow is a very tough hedge plant that shouldn't need special attention once it has established. If you didn't use a mulch fabric, it is beneficial to mulch around the base of the hedge each year.
Hygiene & Diseases:
Dead, damaged or diseased wood can be pruned off as soon as it appears.
Disinfect your pruning tools between every cut if there is any sign of disease.
Burn or dispose of any diseased material, do not compost it.