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Coppicing - how do you do it?

The new house has a couple of trees that look coppiced. By that I mean there's several trunks currently about inch or inch and a half diameter. There's one trunk slightly bigger. No sign of a stump they're growing from but we've not really worked our way up there yet so I haven't looked too closely.

I like the idea of long, straight rods every so many years. Useful for garden stuff but I could make us a hiking pole each too. I think birch but I'm not a confident tree identifier. I think my dad said birch once but I was not really listening, looking at something else to do around there at the time.

So basically what do I do and when? Should I leave a few rods to grow bigger? When to cut them down? What to use them for? Basically the full nine yards on coppicing is what I need. Or book recommendations instead.


  • Loraine3Loraine3 Posts: 569
    edited April 2021
    Could be Hazel, usually cut in winter. My husband used a stick for walking and always used a thumb stick cut from the hedge; he was told by a physio that it was good because it meant he stayed more upright. 

    Can be used for bean poles and also split and used for hurdles! 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,797

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • nick615nick615 Posts: 1,364
    NorthernJoe  Timing is all important!  All deciduous trees shed their leaves in autumn, thus showing that the sap has drained down into the root stock.  Once the leaves have gone, you can remove all the stems @ 4-6 inches above ground level.  Once warmer spring weather arrives, the 'stub' (or root stock) will sprout new shoots that can be left to grow until they're of a useful size for what you need.  If yours is indeed birch, it doesn't have many uses other than for supporting peas or making besom brooms.  Hazel is better for pea sticks but neither will produce enough stems annually.  Other tree types will have their uses but, whatever they are, you'll damage them if you cut stems when leaves are on.  Think of their sap as their life blood?
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