Diamond willow is simply an older willow tree that has contracted a bacterial or fungal infection which can deform the cambium layer of the bark, leaving diamond or teardrop shaped lesions.
The scars can be deep, as each year, more bark forms around it and builds up. When the bark is removed, deep ridges and patterns emerge, like nature made spindles.
Diamond willow is prized for these very attractive designs, and used by artisans for pergolas, furniture such as benches or even beds, handrails for stairs and other crafts that will be in full view.
Diamond willow will only form on older growth as it gets crowded in a clump.
Although I’ve seen references to a specific variety called Diamond Willow, it’s generally recognized that any kind of Salix can become infected with the particular bacterium that causes it.
To prevent diamond willow from forming in your ornamental willows, simply coppice them to keep the young growth vigorously growing and free of infection.
Using diamond willow in your rustic crafts is not for the faint hearted, as it’s very much in your face, so best used in small amounts in very distinctive pieces to draw attention to the details.
Ideal uses would be for pergolas and gazebos, depending on the size you can find, or as a lintel over a door or window, or as a walking stick if the piece is still sound. Celebrate this natural phenomenon, giving it a special place place in your decor.
Quite often, the damage can make a piece of diamond willow weaker than a normal stick, so best to use it for decoration rather than structure.
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