Willow forest

Two years ago got one bigger branch from willow (Salix fragilis ‘Bullata’) in Kuivalahti which pieces I have put directly into water. I got all of them root and transferred them into pure cat liter the same year.

Out of the thickest one I started creating a single informal upright bonsai with very nice bark. The rest I had no clue what to do with. This June I decided to use them for a forest planting, the first of that type for me.

20170603_152424I did have some stone slab waiting for this kind of action:




20170610_174949I have found some clay somewhere in the park after some city digging works which I mixed with peat and water. I would guess it was 50:50 mixture but not sure. I just mixed until I got a “pleasent” density. With that mixture I created walls around the space on the slab.

20170611_165827After the walls were done I put 7 trees in, tried to make some perspective but showed to be challenging due to rather small space compared to the size of the root balls. I did reduce them but still was not simple to put anything somewhere I wanted. Empty space I filled carefully with cat liter.

20170611_180647In the end I put moss around on the walls which I stick with the pieces of wire. That showed to be easier than expected and good looking at once.


The end result was (last photos from August):20170804_16410420170804_164057

All branches I left as they are, I didn’t want any pruning yet, planning to do it next spring.

Lessons learned
  • Making walls was easier than expected as well as the surprise with the end result. Didn’t expect to look like anything yet but it did have “some” magic 🙂
  • Root balls must be rather small compared to the available space. Positioning the trees where you want is not easy.
  • I have some fears about 2 things:
    • I am not sure if willow is the right specie to try this. They grow roots pretty strongly and quickly. Time will show if they start hanging aftre they reached through the walls.
    • How will the whole setup manage through the winter? No clue. Willow like water and I kept it very wet all the time. Plants liked it but how will the whole structure/walls keep the shape during the freezing temperatures I have no clue.
Specie in the net

Salix fragilis



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  1. Jani

    Nice! Those look already quite old. And mos looks very good.

  2. tato

    Thank you for comment Jani! 🙂

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