How to Make a Garden Trellis From Tree Branches

Overview

A garden trellis made of flexible willow branches can be a unique garden feature. The natural properties of the willow add texture, an organic structure, color and a surprise element that makes it hard to identify where the trellis begins once the trellis is fully planted and in bloom. It is important to build this type of trellis with green willow that can be shaped and stabilized.

Step 1

Cut two willow branches that are 16 feet long. The diameter of the willow branch should be 1 inch and 1/2 inch. The willow branch should be freshly cut from the tree.

Step 2

Lay the two willow branches narrow sides together so that they overlap by 2 feet.

Step 3

Twist 16-guage wire around the branches 2 inches from the ends and every 8 inches in between. Make sure you wrap the wire tight so that the branches are very secure.

Step 4

Bend the branches into an arch. You can temporarily wire the sides together if you are making a row of arches.

Step 5

Measure the distance between the bottoms of the branches. Determine your trellis location. Drive metal stakes into the ground using a mini-sledge hammer. Allow 1 foot of the metal stake to remain above ground.

Step 6

Stand up your arch and wire the bottom of the branches to the metal stakes. Allow 1 inch above ground to prevent rot and rooting. Wire the branches tightly to the protruding metal stakes in at least three places.

Step 7

Add additional arches by repeating these steps. You can then weave and wire smaller willow sections between the arches for additional plant supports.

Tips and Warnings

  • These natural trellis archways are suitable for lightweight plants and will need to be replaced every few years.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-inch and 1/2-inch diameter willow branches
  • Tape measure
  • 16-guage wire
  • Wire cutter
  • Pliers
  • Loppers
  • 3-foot metal stakes
  • Mini-sledge hammer

References

  • Mother Earth News: Make Simple, Beautiful Garden Fences and Trellises
  • Sunset: Make a Rustic Trellis
  • BTCV Handbooks Online: Woodlands Handbook
Keywords: willow, garden, trellis

About this Author

F.R.R. Mallory is a senior at UC Berkeley completing degrees in both Neuropsychology and English. She has been published since 1996 in both nonfiction and fiction, books, short stories, articles and essays. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.