The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Willow basket manufacture

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But by far the most extensive use to which this plant is applied, is in the manufacture of baskets. From the earliest periods it has been devoted to this purpose, and large plantations, or osier-fields, as they are called, are devoted to the culture of particular kinds for this purpose, both in Europe and America. The common Basket willow, an European species (S. viminalis), is the sort usually grown for this purpose, but several others are also employed. For the culture of the basket willows, a deep, moist, though not inundated soil is necessary; such as is generally found on the margins of small streams, or low lands. "Ropes and baskets made from willow twigs, were probably among the very earliest manufactures, in countries where these trees abound. The Romans used the twigs for binding their vines, and tying their reeds in bundles, and made all sorts of baskets of them. A crop of willows was considered so valuable in the time of Cato, that he ranks the Salictum, or willow field, next in value to the vineyard and the garden. (Art. Salix. Arb. Brit.)