In February 2011 we planted 400 willow setts to act as a plantation to allow us to cut and plant further setts over the forthcoming years. In December we cut them as required to encourage multiple stems.
In November 2012 they looked like this:
They had been ravaged by rabbits by then and this must have knocked them back at least 1 year
In March 2014 they looked like this:
By last year they looked like this. We took the 650+ setts of them at Christmas to plant to grow more willow for fuel. We left each one with a main stem.
And now they look like this
As you can see the main stem has grown considerable – some nearing 2. inches across. Plus the multiple stems where they were cut last year have sprung shot and are now growing – we will be able to use some of these for further setts for planting out this winter. I would imagine this time next year we will be able to cut the main stems and season them for use Winter 2018. By that time the setts we put in last year will be about 2 years off cutting – so slowly we are beginning to put a sustainable fuel source together. By no means are we yet producing enough to be self sustainable – that will come as we plant out more.