Stripping willow is easy at this time of year. The willows have their first flush of leaves. That is the signal that the bark can be easily removed to reveal the white flesh beneath. Here, one willow whip is shown with part of its bark removed.
Surrounded by tulips and daffodils, the stool of a willow is all that remains after I cut down the willow branches that sprouted from it. Next spring, this stool will once again be a mass of willow whips perhaps eight or nine feet tall.
Two remaining willow shrubs show that first flush of leaves. These will be cut down to form a stool as in the previous photo. The leaves are then removed by sliding my hand down the whip.
This willow was not cut down annually. Without that annual cutting, the willows grow very quickly. This willow is somewhere between five and ten years old.
On the left is the stripped willow. On the right are whips ready to be stripped. Longer pieces of the stripped bark, in the container in the centre, will become weavers for rib baskets. The remainder will be added to my compost.
The dead and unusable willow is at the curb waiting to be picked up by the City as green waste.