5 Wil­low TIM­ING: sum­mer (fo­liage, branches)

NZ Lifestyle Block - - The good life -

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.

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