Saturday, May 21, 2011

Got Unwanted Saplings?

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The only advantage that I can find in having a tenacious energy-sapping sinus infection is the vast amount of internet-trawling I've been doing.

My latest obsession, thanks to the fascinating blog about a gamekeeping family and their life on an estate in Dorset, England, is the building of hurdles.

These are traditional fences, woven out of hazel or willow. They were used to enclose animals on farms, and were often used in a modular fashion, meaning that they could be moved around as needed.



It's times like this that I wish I lived deep in the country (or in England) and had access to slender trees. I pride myself on being a creative thinker, but living as I do, in the middle of urban Oakland, I can't figure out where I'd get slim young saplings.




I've contacted the arborist who worked for us last spring, but I'm not particularly optimistic. He never returns my messages these days. I know that there's a willow farm in Pescadero, about an hour from us, but it is unclear if they sell raw materials, or just finished goods. (The $2,000 minimum order is a bit daunting, as well.)




So, I'm asking my blog readers if they might have a supply of pliable saplings that they might be willing to part with. Got some scrubby trees that need thinning? I'm your girl!

5 comments:

Emily said...

Way back when, my Dad (who is an elephant trainer) needed some branches and small saplings for the elephants, his birds and his snakes, he contacted the city maintenance folk (the ones who maintain the roadways, etc) and they would let him know when and where they would be clearing out that type of material and let him come take what he wanted...wonder if you could find something like that in a local city/park/etc.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Wait.....what??????

Emily said...

:-) Sometimes I forget that talking about elephants is not the norm for most folks. Anyway, my Dad was always looking for ways to make sure that all the animals were properly stimulated and entertained, and the elephants enjoyed playing with/eating/using branches as back scratchers (making sure the type of tree was safe for their consumption, of course). The birds and snakes liked to climb on the branches, too (though not the ones the elephants had!) Also, my dad was always looking to improve their environment, so he slowly composted a bunch of sandy soil into a veggie garden and planted a couple of those discarded saplings- they ended up (many years later) with some beautiful 20 ft trees that grew from his picking through the stuff the road crews pulled out.

Emily said...

(Oh, and I meant to say the folks who maintain the grounds around the roadways, not the roadways themselves- when they have to cut back foliage that's blocking signs, or clear areas that are growing into fire hazards, etc, they end up with a lot of branches, saplings, etc, just heading for mulching...)

Christine said...

Ooooh, is this what you were talking about? I think the next best thing to willow is to find a neglected plum tree. They're experts at producing lots of "water sprouts" which are pithy branches that grow straight up in the air. If you harvest them green, they'll be somewhat flexible. Any abandoned plum trees near you?

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