This plant is a great source of chop-and-drop mulch and compost greens. Having a good and abundant supply of free mulching materials and compost ingredients is a real bonus for any gardener.
I'm not recommending you go out and plant this tree because in many places it is considered a weed (check this in your local area - it could be OK), but if you happen to have it, I think there's a lot of benefit you can gain from using its leafy abundance.
This is Paulownia or Royal Empress Tree (Paulownia tormentosa). It is a magnificent tree - huge leaves, tall trunk, shading branches, beautiful flowers with amazing scent and bee hum.
Paulownia is claimed to be the fastest growing tree in the world, drought hardy, and able to tolerate a wide range of soils. (USDA plant hardiness zones 5-9).
It is however also considered a weed in many places. It's a weed in my garden too. A neighbour planted some a few decades ago when it was 'the' timber tree to grow. He never did get any financial return but it has created lovely shade and habitat for many species, and has suckered successfully into my place.
It sprouted where we dug our house pad and disturbed the roots. Rather than poison it, we just keep harvesting it keeping it low and accessible. For me, the best way to keep Paulownia in check in a garden is using it. It grows fast and doesn't mind being coppiced.
SOME USES OF PAULOWNIA LEAVES
- chop and drop leaves for mulch
- add leaves to compost as a valuable nitrogenous ingredient (when green) or carbon ingredient (when brown)
- use leaves as a nutrient rich fodder for cows
- eat the young leaves
The lightweight timber is excellent for craft and non-structural building purposes.
Happy gardening. Feel free to share this post.
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Labels: bees, composting, food forest, mulch, perennials, permaculture, soil