5 Willow TIMING: summer (foliage, branches)
Willow bark is the original source of aspirin and contains many other beneficial chemicals. Willow leaves and small stems (less then 10mm) are superior to summer pasture and, once introduced to an animal, can be fed in quite large amounts. Other benefits include: • quickly grows a large amount of fodder which can be completely harvested every 2-3 years; • can be pollarded or even grown as a crop and rotationally grazed; • male trees provide pollen for bees in early spring when bee food is scarce;
willow trees can be pollarded and cropped for fodder every 2-3 years.
likes wet areas and is good for stabilising stream banks; an anthelmintic for horses and all livestock (and humans), and a decoction of the bark is efficacious against flukes (trematode parasites) and diarrhoea in sheep.
On the downside it can get infected by the newly-arrived giant willow aphid. This sap sucker depletes the health of the tree and produces a honeydew which is detrimental to honey if bees harvest it.