How to Make a Willow Trellis


Some landscape plants provide more than one function in the yard. Willow trees form screens and windbreaks along property lines, as well as supply materials for fences and trellises. These structures, also known as wattle fences, create an attractive, natural-looking support for climbing vines. Although various other types of green branches supply suitable materials for making this type of trellis, the quick growth of willow trees and the characteristics of their branches make them especially useful for forming into trellises.

Step 1

Remove the branches from your willow trees during the spring or summer, when they are green and pliable. Use sturdy garden shears to remove 15 to 20 long, thin branches. Use branches that are about 1 inch in diameter and measure about 6 feet long. Cut five more branches that are about 1/2 to 1 inch thicker and at least 4 feet long for your upright sections. These measurements make a trellis that measures 4 feet wide by 6 feet long.

Step 2

Remove the leaves from your branches by peeling them back with your fingers. Trim away any firmly attached leaves or side branches with your pruning shears, leaving long, bare branches to use in your willow trellis.

Step 3

Poke holes into the ground with a piece of rebar. Make the holes in a row, about 12 inches deep, every 14 inches. Place the ends of your short, thick willow branches into these holes to keep them vertical. Stomp the soil in place around the branches to hold them firmly in place.

Step 4

Weave one long willow branch between your upright posts. Starting at one end of your row, place the long branch on the outside of the first post, then the inside of the second post, followed by the outside of the third post, continuing this weaving pattern until you reach the final post. Push the horizontal, woven branch all the way down to the bottom of the posts. Weave your next horizontal branch in the same fashion, alternating the pattern, so the branches are on opposite sides of each post. Continue in this manner, alternating the placement of the branches from the fronts to the backs of your vertical posts, until you reach the tops of the posts.

Step 5

Pull your piece of willow trellis out of the soil. Lightly water the soil around each post to loosen them and pull the entire piece upward, removing it from the ground. Lay the trellis on its side and place a couple more long branches into the spaces near the bottoms of the posts that were in the ground.

Things You'll Need

  • Willow trees
  • Pruning shears
  • Rebar
  • Water


  • Mother Earth News: Make Simple, Beautiful Garden Fences and Trellises
  • Wisconsin Public Television: Building a Wattle Fence
  • "Creating Your Eco-Friendly Garden", Mary Horsfall, 2008

Who Can Help

  • The Washington Post: The Lost Art of Wattle Fencing
Keywords: willow trellis, home-made trellis, wattle fence

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.