The gifts nature supplies are endless. The mature tree in your yard provides abundant leaves in fall, issuing you nutrients through its decomposition. It also drops a variety of sizes of branches, too. If you have young children, twigs, sticks, and limbs of branches can become an industrious construction project or charming pathway. Adults, too, can repurpose branches or saplings in a multitude of ways with the use of ingenuity, creativity, and time.
There is always a need for low fencing, a trellis, gardening support, or feature. While you pay for accommodation, sometimes you may say with confidence, “I could make this myself!” Yes, along with grapevines or raspberry canes, saplings or tree branches, other necessary materials may include twine, a saw or looper, and possibly a hammer and nails. If you have willow, for instance, growing on your land, consider yourself fortunate! Some plants, like willow and elderberry, can grow roots if replanted.
Creating Woven Fencing, the Wattle Way
Appearing as a tapestry of woven panels of sticks, Colonial Americans began the practice of making “wattle” fences to contain any valuable items, from livestock to vegetables. Thin posts, termed “sales” placed 12 to 18-inches apart need to be durable and strong. The saplings, called “weavers” are supple, straight and thin in diameter to weave between, at least, three sales; however, a greater length provides more stability. Once cut, the weavers are immediately used or immersed in water to increase flexibility. Just alternate each row of saplings around the alternating stake, and press down to tighten the weave.
In constructing a wattle fence, you can create low fencing to accent a walkway or flower garden, or taller stakes to hide an unattractive HVAC unit or promote privacy. Online tutorials will guide those interested in making a wattle fence, and impart essential tips, especially if the fence turns at a 90-degree angle. High walls require a durable stake; therefore, consider using rebar.
The difficulty with most store-bought garden trellises or tomato cages is the brackets break easily, leaving the homeowner with the task of continuous repair or replacement. A DIY trellis is not only fun to construct but can endure several seasons. All that is needed are tree branches, semi-thick saplings, twine, scissors, and creativity.
- A Teepee Trellis: A plant support in the shape of a teepee is not only ideal for beans, but also cucumbers, peas, and tomatoes. Homeowners can also make them in varying sizes and shapes to accommodate flowering vines or climbing roses. In considering the weight of the plant, be particular in selecting healthy saplings, and fishing wire, for instance, instead of gardening twine. A teepee trellis can last several years, depending on its construction.
Begin by cutting four saplings, roughly four-inches thick and six to eight inches in length. Arrange the four poles to come close together while jutting out each pole to impose a square. With twine, tie the four poles tightly together and tightly to move it to another location. Next, measure the bottom width, and cut four similar sized semi-thick sticks. Use twine or fishing wire to secure the branches to each side. Continue until you reach the top.
- Branch Support: Simplicity in design is often beautiful. In the case of DIY branch support, it requires five to six stakes circling a plant with cascading flowers, for instance. At the top of each stake, cut a notch that is at least six inches deep to allow supple branches to rest. In cutting long flexible branches, circle them to create a ring at the top. Use twine to fasten within the notch and around the stake. With tall plants, such as peonies or tomatoes, consider making a second ring of long branches to attach at the middle of the stake. The outcome is striking.
- Globe Branch Support: With a thick trunk and highly flexible tips, placefive to six branches into the ground; then, lace each whip to the adjacent side, tie with zip ties or string in the shape of a globe. Allow adequate space for new growth to pop through. The outcome is surprising, and worthwhile of your time, even if you must design a new one each year.
With sticks, twigs, and branches within walking distance, start creating something unique. You’ll be surprised how many visitors comment on its striking appearance and your artistic creativity!