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This species of willow is a shrub or small tree which grows up to 6 metres high, but can be kept at a more manageable height if needed. It is easily identified by its long, pointed leaves with their silky, silver undersides. It is fast growing and vigorous, and produces more leafy biomass than most other types of willows.
Fodder willow is one of our favorite deciduous support species; it responds very well to pruning and coppicing and it is a great chop and drop species for colder areas, where our subtropical support species such as Bana and Tithonia don’t perform as well. Being deciduous it will drop all its leaves in winter, allowing light to reach trees, plants and seedlings growing underneath.
It grows readily from cuttings so propagating from your own plants is easy once they are established, but care should be taken as to where trimmings are laid. Only the male form is known so seed is not produced. Their fibrous root system is great at stabilising loose soil, so it is also great for planting on river and stream banks to prevent erosion.
As the name implies it is a fantastic fodder for animals; the foliage is also known to have a deworming effect. Here in Northland they are colonized by the willow aphid, which attracts wasps and increases their numbers, although they don’t seem to be as badly affected as other willow species.
Deciduous and very cold tolerant, Fodder Willow will grow nationwide. It prefers damp or boggy soil, so it is a great food forest pioneer species for areas with heavy or wet soils.
Size: 1L Pot