What type of willow is used for basket making?

There are three willow tree species commonly grown as basket willow trees: Salix triandra, also known as almond willow or almond-leaved willow. Salix viminalis, often known as common willow. Salix purpurea, a popular willow known by a number of alternate names, including purple osier willow and blue arctic willow.

What kind of willow grows in Alaska?

Salix alaxensis
Salix alaxensis is a species of flowering plant in the willow family known by the common names Alaska willow and feltleaf willow. It is native to northern North America, where it occurs throughout Alaska and northwestern Canada.

Does willow grow in Alaska?

Willows are very hardy and easy to grow. These new varieties are native to Alaska, and are adapted to the Alaskan environment. Willow is an important browse plant utilized by moose, hares and ptarmigan. Many game as well as non-game species use willow for cover and nesting.

Can you use any willow for weaving?

The rule of thumb is that any long thin plant material you can wrap around your wrist once fully without snapping can be woven as a basket. The willow used mostly in commercial basket weaving in the UK is Black Maul a cultivar of Salix Triandra but most willow is ‘weavable’.

Can you make baskets from willow tree branches?

Baskets can be made with any type of pliable reed, grass, vine or branch, but willow is a popular choice because it creates such a sturdy basket when it dries. Willow shoots shrink when they dry the first time. Lay them out to dry for several weeks before using.

What is a basket willow?

Basket willows are special species of willow that have been grown for centuries specifically for basket weaving and farm use. The stems are flexible and can be bent at a 90-degree angle without breaking when they are green. They grow straight, without branching in their first-year growth.

How do you make willow for basket weaving?

(Before weaving, soak the dry willow rods until you can bend them around your wrist, without cracking them. Soaking them for 24 hours in a bathtub is usually long enough. They are ready for weaving when they can pass the bend test without cracking.)

How many willow branches are in a basket?

Cut the rod at the base of each rod, without cutting into the hard willow stool. Gather the willow rods and bundle them with the cut end together. Allow willow rods to dry before weaving them into a basket. You will need 3 to 5 willow stools, with 20 to 30 rods each, to weave one medium basket.

How do you harvest willow for basket weaving?

To harvest, willow can be cut with a pruning shear right down to the ground. The next year it will send up straight branchless shoots, perfect for basketry. The second year of growth it will start to get branchy, which is not desirable for basketmaking.