What Maine trees and plants are the best to use when making wattle fences?
I am interested in making Wattle fencing/hurdles around my backyard and am hoping for any insight as to what trees/plants from Maine would be best to use. I have read that in England they use Hazel and Willow and am wondering what would be the closest to those that exist naturally here. It is intended as a substitute for panel fencing and not just lining a garden bed or something small like that. I wasn’t sure if our winters were too harsh for this or if frost heaves would be too much for such a structure. Any insight for materials to use or resources for making Wattle fencing in Maine would be wonderful! Thank you for any help you can provide.
Lynne M. Holland, Community Education Assistant, Androscoggin-Sagadahoc Counties
I checked in with one of our Community Education Assistants and this is what she was able to share:
- The posts should be a sturdy wood, preferably rot-resistant species, like black locust or cedar.
- The woven withies are the fun part. Use alder, hazel, maple, or birch. The classic one is willow.
- Water sprouts pruned from pear & apple trees are excellent.
- Harvest the saplings and branches in late winter and spring before the leaves emerge. As summer wood is much less flexible.
- The withies have to be long enough to weave in and out between at least three posts. Then they’re pushed down. Stagger the start areas.
Coastal Maine Botanical garden has a number of areas with wattle fencing, living fences and tunnels. It’s also very common in Japan.
Here is a good write up on The Resilience Hub website. There are a lot of books available as well.
I would also stress that willow, though not native, is very hardy and a fast growing option for wattle fences.