Willow Oak Tree Pros And Cons
The Pros Of Willows:
1) They are easy to grow and maintain.
(They require little care.)
2) They have a good resistance against pests.
(Pests do not attack them easily.) You can use chemicals or just spray the leaves with water regularly. If you want to keep your plants alive longer, you may need to fertilize them more often than usual.
3) They provide shade during hot summer days.
(If you plant them in shady location, they will stay cool.)
4) They produce a lot of woody stems which are used for furniture making.
(You can make some kind of planks out of it.)
5) Willows are very resistant to insects.
(Even if there is no wind, they won’t get damaged.) Insects cannot survive under their leaves even when they are dead.
6) They are very resilient to drought conditions.
(In case of drought, you can water them less frequently.)
7) Willows are easy to prune.
(You don’t need to worry about cutting down branches and twigs.)
8) Willows have a high resistance against diseases like leaf spot and aphids.
(They can resist these diseases better than other types of trees.) You can prevent disease from spreading by keeping your soil healthy.
9) They don’t require much space to grow.
(Even if you keep them in a pot, they won’t need as much watering and maintenance as other types of trees do.)
The Cons Of Willows:
1) There may be some problems with willow wilt disease.
(They are considerably hard to get rid of once infected with this disease. This disease can spread from one tree to another easily. Once the diseased part of the tree is cut off, the part of the tree that was cut off will become withered and die very quickly. You can use a fertilizer that has copper in it to prevent the disease though.
This may also make the disease only superficial though. Thinning out the leaves won’t do any good since this disease attacks from inside the tree. The best way to kill off this disease is by injecting a lot of copper into the soil surrounding the roots. This may be quite a hassle though. It is best to buy a new tree if your current one gets infected with willow wilt disease.
2) They may drop too many twigs and leaves everywhere.
(If you plant them near your house, this is not a good thing.)
3) Willows have a very strong scent.
(You will have to get used to the smell. It may also attract too many flies near your house. It is not really bothersome though. You can just plant the tree elsewhere if you cannot stand the smell.)
4) They can get easily damaged during strong winds.
(Proper planting is a must if you want to prevent this.)
5) Their bark may sustain injuries very easily.
(You will have to be careful when working under the trees. Their bark is very thin and they don’t really heal themselves. You will have to use some kind of wound closure otherwise the tree may get infected.)
6) The woody stems are not very strong and can be easily broken.
(You cannot use them for railroad ties though. They are strong enough to be used for furniture making however.)
Quick Facts About Willows:
1) There are more than 20 different species of willows available in North America.
2) If you want to plant a willow tree, be sure to plant it during the winter or early spring.
3) The trees that have been damaged by frost and have many dead branches can be cut down easily.
(You can use these trees to make chairs, brooms and hockey sticks.)
4) You can prevent frost damage by planting the trees in some place where there is good shelter.
(You can also cover up the roots with some soil if frost is expected to come.)
5) You can start seeing new buds in the spring after planting a willow tree.
(It takes about 3 years for the tree to become fully grown and ready to harvest)
6) A young willow tree can take in more water than an old one of the same size.
(This means that you will have to water the young trees much more often than the older ones. Be careful of not over watering them though. Young trees also have very shallow roots compared to old ones. This makes them more susceptible to being blown away in a storm or having their roots ripped off during cultivation.)
Willow Tree Harvesting:
1) You should cut down the willow tree just before the start of spring.
(This way the tree will have enough time to grow back and produce more shoots for you to harvest the next year)
2) Cut a wedge around the trunk of the tree.
(This will prevent the tree from falling over before you cut it down completely)
3) You should wait until the following year before you actually cut down the tree completely.
(You cannot harvest much the first or second year anyway due to the young age of the tree. It will be very unprofitable to cut it down too early)
4) If you want to make use of the branches for anything, you should cut them off when you are cutting out the wedge.
(The branches are quite brittle and break easily. They can also get in the way when you try to saw the wedge.)
5) If there are any diseased or damaged areas on the tree, cut those parts off before you start harvesting the tree.
(These parts will be useless to you anyway)
6) The sawdust from the tree is very flammable so be careful when cutting it not to create a spark.
(You do NOT want to start a fire!)
7) You can wait until the following winter to harvest the trunk of the tree if you cannot process all of it during the same year.
(The wood will still be good as long as it stays dry. You can cover the tree stump with dirt to prevent it from getting wet if necessary.)
Storing And Drying Willow Trees:
1) You can cut up the trees into smaller logs if you have the means to do so.
(This will speed up the drying process considerably)
2) Cut the willow tree into short sections about 1 foot in diameter.
(The small sections will dry quicker than the whole tree and they will also be easier to handle)
3) Split the logs lengthwise to create long thin strips.
(The thinner the strips are, the drier they will be)
4) Lay the strips out in an area that has good air flow.
(Stay away from high-wind areas)
5) Turn the strips regularly to ensure even drying.
(It will take at least a few weeks, possibly a month or more depending on air humidity and other factors)
6) You can turn the strips over and re-split them to allow for more air to flow through to the inner parts.
(This may not be necessary if the strips are extremely thin. It will also take more time)
7) The strips should be dry enough to be stored in bags or sacks after a few weeks in most cases.
(A month would be more desirable)
8) Airtight containers are not necessary unless you want to store the willow for longer than a year.
Willow Tree Uses:
The bark of a willow tree can be used for many different things. Some good, and some not so good. Some obvious, and some a little more obscure.
1) It can be chewed on to ease pain from minor wounds and abrasions.
(Specifically toothaches if you happen to have a lot of teeth problems!)
2) It can be used as kindling to start a fire.
(The bark shatters easily so it makes it easy to shred into small pieces for starting a fire)
3) The flexible twigs can be used as skewers for cooking meat.
4) The flexible twigs can be woven into baskets for holding small items.
(You can also use them as fish traps if you are creative!)
5) The flexible twigs can be tied or woven into a tight mesh and used as a strainer for liquids.
(If you have the knowledge of how to do this, you can strain poisonous liquids out of poisonous plants so you can drink the liquid. You get the idea!)
6) The flexible twigs can be woven into a tighter mesh and used as a snare for small animals.
(You can also use them as a trap for larger animals if you are creative!)
7) The flexible twigs can be tied or woven into a loose mesh and used as a container for small items.
(You can also use them as a container for poisonous plants so you don’t have to carry a second container!)
Now I know what your saying, “I would rather just use my hand than do all that weaving, braiding, tying stuff!” Well if you have worked with leather, rope, or even string I am sure you can imagine how much work it would be to weave all that willow just to make something useful. (Remember, willow is much smaller than most plants you would use this way, and it is very pliable)
But if you are crafty and creative, the sky is the limit on what you can do! I will leave that up to your imagination! Just remember to save some twigs after you harvest the bark!
Next we will talk about the most useful material in a forest for the purposes of survival, and that is trees! Of course I am talking about the mighty oak!
Various types of Oak Trees:
Acorns can be used to make a sort of bread if you have a fire and the right containers (more about that later). They can also be used as fodder for animals (even humans) if there is nothing else available. Acorns can be used to make a passable coffee substitute if you are in a bind.
Acorns are mostly useful for feeding animals but in a survival situation you will take anything you can get.
There are two types of acorns, sweet and bitter. If you get a mouthful of bitter acorn you will feel a burning sensation and have trouble swallowing. Swallow enough of them and you will get sick. Sweet acorns are not exactly delicious but they are edible.
Bitter acorns are poisonous.
How do you know the difference?
If in doubt don’t eat it!
Besides eating the acorn itself you can also soak them in water to make a sort of milk substitute. It isn’t particularly tasty but it will quench your thirst.
Hazel nuts are very easy to find and can be consumed either raw or cooked. They have a nice taste, similar to a walnut. They can be eaten as a snack but they also provide much needed calories.
Beech tree’s have a smooth grey bark and thin evenly spaced branches. The tree bears nuts that are surrounded by a bright red husk or “fruit”. The nuts are edible either raw or cooked and they taste similar to walnuts.
Be especially careful around these trees as the husks tend to fall everywhere under the trees.
Sources & references used in this article:
Epicormic branches affect lumber grade and value in willow oak by JS Meadows, EC Burkhardt – Southern Journal of Applied …, 2001 – academic.oup.com
Wood property variation of Mississippi delta hardwoods by FW Taylor, TE Wooten – Wood and Fiber Science, 2007 – wfs.swst.org
Elevation, competition control, and species affect bottomland forest restoration by KW McLeod, MR Reed, LD Wike – Wetlands, 2000 – Springer
A simultaneous density-integral system for estimating stem profile arid biomass: slash pine and willow oak by BR Parresol, CE Thomas – Canadian journal of forest …, 1996 – NRC Research Press
Photosynthesis of oak trees [Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.] during drought under field conditions: diurnal course of net CO2 assimilation and photochemical … by D Epron, E Dreyer, N Breda – Plant, Cell & Environment, 1992 – Wiley Online Library