High yielding willow (Salix spp) or poplar (Populus spp), densely planted is termed Short Rotation Coppice (SRC), and is grown as a renewable energy feedstock.

Willow agronomy information

Some willows are very fast growing; yielding up to 15t dry matter/ha/year. Schemes such as the Energy Crops Scheme have led to the expansion of the area under SRC Willow, which in 2006 was 1,180ha.

Land to be planted into willow SRC should be prepared as for a cereal crop, only with deep cultivation to 200-250mm, then planted in the spring whereby it will grow rapidly in the first year. During the winter it is cut back to ground level in order to encourage the growth of multiple stems. It is then generally left for around three years when again during the winter, it is harvested. In the UK yields from first harvest of willow SRC are likely to be 7 – 12 dry tonnes/ha/year.

No fertilizer is required during the establishment year, however applications should be made during the following three seasons, although due to the rapid growth of the crop fertiliser application can be difficult in year two and nearly impossible in year three, therefore applications can only be made where possible.

Recommended willow fertiliser programme

Willow fertiliser programme