Growing Willow For The Future
Willow Multiplication and Propagation

Helping landowners to grow large yield SRC willow crops quickly

What is willow multiplication?

Multiplication, also known as clonal propagation, is a method of plant propagation suited to willows. This process allows us to sustainably reproduce a plant variety quickly while maintaining its desirable qualities. Willow sticks or rods are taken from a carefully selected shrub and re-planted directly into the ground in order to create a separate but genetically identical plant.

Because the plant is already partly grown when it is propagated, there is no need to wait for the long process of seed germination.

New varieties of willow are being developed all the time. With effective multiplication, we can ensure that these are made widely available more quickly.


The importance of willow multiplication

The development of new willow varieties helps create more advantageous crops. This includes encouraging qualities such as yield, pest and disease resistance, and hardiness. By creating plants that are likely to be strong, high-yielding and climate change-resistant, willow becomes a more lucrative crop and a more reliant form of biomass.

More options means that, if you grow willow for biomass or other uses, you can select varieties that are suitable for your requirements. You will be able to choose a shrub that will work best on your land and for your situation. This, of course, will mean better profits and a more effective use of underutilised land.

Environmentally, too, careful willow multiplication has its benefits. Increasing the quantity of growing willow in the UK means we can move more quickly towards a net zero future. For example, as the majority of the UK’s willow currently comes from Scandinavia (particularly Denmark and Sweden), there are high transport costs and fuel emissions involved. More readily available varieties in the UK will dramatically reduce the issues that come with transporting plants between countries.


The National Willow Collection

The UK’s own National Willow Collection is a collection of 1,500 accessions of willow held by Rothamsted Research, who are actively working on producing further biomass willow varieties.

This world-leading research centre plays a vital part in willow breeding and willow research in the UK. We are proud to be working with them to help multiply a number of these new varieties. These new varieties can then be provided to landowners who can benefit from growing elite willow varieties.

Multiplication at Willow Energy

Our experienced team at Willow Energy are licenced by Rothamsted Research to multiply their willow shrub varieties, which are vital for the ongoing production of this versatile biofuel in the UK. Find out more about our available willow varieties.