I have given over part of the far corner of the garden to growing some trees to see if I can replenish some of the wood I use in the woodburner for biomass fuel. I do not have anywhere near enough land to be self sufficient in wood, but then again we only use the woodstove when the temperature outside drops really low, as we have gas central heating for daily use.
After some research into differing varieties to grow, I decided to plant some hybrid fast growing willow trees. These came as 1 metre rods and I planted them at 1 metre spacing in early February this year. The picture below shows the first shoots appearing after 2 months.
The variety I chose was Dasyclados “Super Willow”, from The Willow Bank, which is very fast growing and can be coppiced and harvested for fuel after 3-4 years. They thrive in damp conditions and should grow 2-4 metres a year. I am hoping that the rabbits and deer do not pilfer the new shoots.
I had to remove some old Morello cherry trees, which never bore any useable fruit, to make way for the willows, but they are now in the log pile for a year or two seasoning to air dry for the fire. The new willow will obviously require at least a year seasoning after cutting, but I hope to replant some of the cuttings to produce more new trees and of course the old ones will regrow after harvesting.
Woodburning as a source of home heat, has been around for many years. I bought a book back in 1977 which taught me a lot about woodstoves and wood burning. I have reproduced some highlights from The Woodburning Book for you to enjoy.