Forest Friday is looking at Tree Wormwood – Artemisia arborescens.

“Knowledge is great, understanding is better”

This is a chance for us to explore the different trees we use in our permaculture designs. There is so much to understand about a tree before placing it in a system, and by giving a tree what it needs to thrive, the whole system can benefit from the many design and ecologic functions they provide. Savour Soil uses Tree Wormwood – Artemisia arborescens in many designs, as a screening hedge, pest deterrent, chicken wormer and light reflecter but there is so much more to this tree.
  • Arid/semi-arid, cold temperate, warm temperate sub-tropical regions.
  • will tolerate frosts.
  • Fast growing.
  • Wind tolerant and drought hardy
  • It is easily propagated by softwood cuttings
  • Take cuttings Late February/March and September
Needs, Tolerances + Susceptibilities:
  • Tree Wormwood is an herbaceous perennial.
  • evolved to survive dry environments in the Mediterranean region
  • Established plants rarely need watering, except in extremely long dry periods.
  • It can be unaffected by light frost.
  • Will tolerate most soils provided they drain well.
  • Tolerates rainfall between 250 +900mm p/a.
  • Young plants require watering as they establish.
Charactoristics + Behaviours:
  • Tree Wormwood is a evergreen shrub.
  • Growing 1-2m tall with a similar spread.
  • Small yellow flowers in Summer.
  • Self-mulching.
  • It has feather like siler leaves for photosynthesis which help to retain water in dry hot conditions while reflecting light and heat.
  • Sprinkle of good compost around the base of the plant annually in spring.
Design Function:
  • Habitat for small birds.
  • Low level wind break + shelterbelt.
  • Help repel insects and Possums
  • Can be used for Chickens to ‘self-medicate’ for worms.
  • Can be used as a living fence that hedges easily.
  • Can be used to create micro climates due to its ability to reflect light and heat (silver foliage)
  • Creates a striking backdrop for our systems
  • Natural wormer for our chickens
  • Grows quickly and provides lots of organic material.
  • The smell can help repel insects in the garden
  • Rubbing the leaf on the skin can help repel mosquitoes
Ecological Function:
  • Tree Wormwoods natural harsh taste and strong odour tend to repel certain insect pests
  • Tree Wormwood builds organic matter which helps nourishes soil.
  • It will also turn off nibbling pests such as possums, and other animals.
  • Using Tree Wormwood as a companion can repel fleas and flies as well as certain in ground larvae.
  • Habitat for small birds which frequent the garden.
  • The word “wormwood” comes from wermod, Old English for Artemisia absinthium, a plant known as “common wormwood.”

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