Turning Dreaded Buckthorn Into an English Wattle Fence

7 Materials
3 Days

Buckthorn is a noxious shrub/tree that destroys our woods. I needed to make a fence to hide a compost pile. I'd seen beautiful English wattle fences and decided to cut buckthorn branches to make it. First, I cut down a bunch of branches before they'd leafed out in the Spring. Then I set few treated posts into concrete and "wove" the branches back and forth like a basket. It was easy! I capped the posts with 1x12 cedar and then stained it to match the buckthorn "basket".

An Old English wattle fence made of buckthorn
Our woods were choked with Buckthorn

Buckthorn was about to take over the woods next to my house.

I cut branches and stripped them into sticks

I chose early spring to build this before the Buckthorn had leafed out. I chose branches that were between 1 and 2 inches in diameter. Length varied.

Twigs cut into wattle

Cutting off the branches created uniform wattle sticks.

Posts set in concrete and twigs woven between

I set the posts about 3 feet apart careful to make sure the tops were even. When the concrete had set, I wove the twig back and forth like a basket. I pushed them down to form a tight weave. Then I trimmed off the ragged ends. I used steel wire to tie off the ends. Then I cut 1x12 planks and 1x2 pieces to create the cap on the fence. I then stained the cedar to match the wattle. We've planted English ivy to grow on the fence as well.

Even in the winter it looks great in a rustic way!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Sandra
    on Feb 20, 2019

    Do you think young bamboo can be done this way.

    • Charlotte Peters
      on Feb 22, 2019

      Hi Sandra! I have tons of bamboo on my property and it’s difficult to get rid of so I’ve been trying to find projects to make and maybe make a few dollars from it. I don’t think bamboo would weave very easily, unless it were young, thin and moist shoots. The bamboo here (Lynchburg, VA) is easily over 6-7’ tall, if not taller and a good inch in diameter. Nothing like the small bamboo that’s entwined together that’s supposed bring good luck or fortune.

  • Kate
    on Feb 20, 2019

    Such a pretty, natural looking fence!! Great job!! I love the look of it!

    Do you think I could weave some branches in a regular metal fence?

    • Lorie Wilmes
      on Feb 20, 2019

      Yes, definitely!! Willow branches are made to make willow furniture. They have to be soaked to bend easily so if you run into trouble with the type of wood you are using, try soaking them until they are more flexible.

  • David
    on Feb 20, 2019

    Anybody mention good ol' American cane? About same as bamboo....probably thinner & more flexible especially if cut green.

    • Bob Thacker
      on Mar 30, 2019

      Lucky you. Cane/bamboo doesn't grow in Minnesota. I'm thinking of using red twig dogwood.

Join the conversation

2 of 51 comments
  • Kyralee
    on Aug 28, 2020

    Really cool and great use of a resource you already had! We don't see a lot of wattle fencing in the U.S. but I have always admired its natural look.

  • Bob Thacker
    on Aug 29, 2020

    Thanks! We l like the natural look and also did a garden border with buckthorn and grapevine, also intrusive.

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