Willow grows extremely quickly, in one growing season, which
lasts from late May to early October, a single rod can reach
up to 8ft long. New willow beds are planted in the spring
using pieces of willow from the crop harvested during the
previous winter. With careful management the plants can last
up to 30 years.
Each mature plant or "stool" gives rise to over 30 rods. The
crop is harvested each winter time after the leaves have died
and fallen, these old leaves provide nutrients for the following
years, eliminating the need for artificial fertilisers.
The willow beds provide homes and shelter for many species
of birds and animals during the summer months. Both the commercial
willow crops, or beds and the pollarded willow trees contribute
to the character and image of the "Somerset Levels"
The process of burning willow is considered to be carbon
neutral, making them a good environmental option.