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Paulownia tomentosa Empress Tree Potential Intensive Silvopasture

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Livestock tree forage characteristics for Northeast Temperate Climate Intensive Silvopasture:

-Long lived woody perennial tree or shrub
-Palatable and nutritious for sheep and cattle
-Easy to propagate for low cost installation
-Quick to establish, grazable in 2 years
-Indigenous North American plant, or at least manageable if naturalized in the area

Paulownia tomentosa (Empress Tree, princess tree, foxglove-tree, or kiri) in Southern New York could work:

-As long as the roots get established, listed hardy to -15 F (climate zone 5, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York)

(Agroforestry Queen Meghan Giroux Burlington VT)

-Top growth most likely to be winter killed (as die back perennial), which is preferable as it keeps the plant:
*to young to flower and spread seed
*more palatable/nutritious?

-Tree is high in nutrients, especially protein, ~20%

-Can be propagated by seed, root, or stem cuttings

-As a 'C4' plant, growth is extremely fast (one of the fastest growing trees in the world!)

My son, under second year overwintered seedlings, Ithaca, NY, July 25, 2018

Hopefully by this time next year I will have grazed sheep in a hedge of Paulownia that I've established from cloned varieties, in Brooktondale, NY. Expect an update on this blog in 2019!

Then, the thinking is possibly planting an acre of Paulownia at 6 foot spacing, ~1000 trees per acre, VOILA! Intensive Silvopasture!

P.S. You might be wondering why not Black Locust? Well, due to it's characteristics of spreading by root suckers, and having thorns, Paulownia seems like it might be easier to manage

P.P.S. Intensive Silvopasture has been shown to both significantly increase carbon sequestration in grazing landscapes, AND jack meat and milk productivity. If native trees are added at the paddock edges more improvements can be made... From Drawdown the book, regarding tropical intensive silvopasture, "Trees keep the wind in check and improve water retention, which causes increases in biomass. The combination of flora can reduce the ambient temperature... which enhances humidity and plant growth [and reduce stress in animals]. Species biodiversity doubles... Stocking rates nearly triple. Meat production in pounds per acre per year is four to ten times higher then in conventional systems."

Photos by Eric Toensmeier and others.

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