As some of you may know from our Caring for the Countryside page, here at The Sign Maker we have planted over 1500 willow and poplar across the farm. There is several reasons that we have done this, firstly it is to create habitats for todays wildlife and logs for the future for our biomass boiler. Making it an even more eco-friendly energy source! We have also planted both willow and poplar for wind screening because here at The Sign Maker it is very windy so its nice to create a few spots where the wind drops off and you can really enjoy the warmth of the sun.
Here at The Sign Maker we have used a variety of different willow and poplar for different jobs. For the willow we have used a specific biomass/wood willow that is a hybrid willow which is perfect for the biomass as it can be harvested just after 4 years! Then for screening we also use a hybrid willow which is a cross between native and European varieties which produces a very hardy willow.
As for the poplar we use two different types, both of which can be used as a fuel source and for screening. The first type is Poplar Tricobal also known as California Poplar, with its main trait being that it grows very quickly. The second type of poplar is Poplar Gaver, this poplar has more delicate leaves that sound like rain when the wind whistle through them but is still fast growing.
Willow and poplar trees are also fantastic for the wildlife. Willow creates an ideal early crop of nectar which is perfect for bees who may of had a tough winter, but also for other insects. Butterflies and moths are particularly attracted to willow to lay their eggs in, a huge variety of caterpillars can be found on willow during the summer months. Willow is also a brilliant way to reduce the nitrogen in your soil. Poplar is also a fantastic habitat for birds to play and shelter in.
Here at The Sign Maker we purchased all out willow from Mammoth Willow, the product was fantastic and grew on very well. If you would like to check them out just follow the link below:
Although some of the willow and poplar will be cut done to create a fuel source for our biomass we will continue to replant. Every time a willow or poplar is cut down a new one will be planted in its place.
If you have any wonderful willow or perfect poplar make sure to send us some pictures or if you have any tips or hints please do let us know, we would love to hear from you all.