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Identify great coppice tree - West coast

 
Dale Hodgins
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I'm on Vancouver Island. This tree produces very straight medium hardwood poles ranging between 3/4 inch and 6 inches. The bark is very easy to peel.
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Dale Hodgins
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Jahnavi Veronica
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Its some willow(salix) species, couldn't tell you exactly which one cause there are 10-12 similar species around the bioregion. Scouler's willow maybe? i coppiced 2 large ones last winter and now they are going on seven feet of regrowth, so far.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Jahnavi Veronica wrote:Its some willow(salix) species, couldn't tell you exactly which one cause there are 10-12 similar species around the bioregion. Scouler's willow maybe? i coppiced 2 large ones last winter and now they are going on seven feet of regrowth, so far.


I've had a look at several specimens of Scouler's. It's not that. But, I think you're on the right track with the willow thing. There are over 400 species. I am accustomed to seeing willows with elongated leaves with a pointy tip. There are several with rounded leaves. The wood from this one seems pretty hard. I've cut weeping willow and the wood was soft and wet.

I will test whether I can propagate by sticking branches into mud. They don't seem to send out runners. A test of shrinkage, cracking and tendency to stain should be done. I'll test nail hold and screw hold. I suspect that it will be quick to rot. I'll build a bench or something and leave it out all winter.

The 3 inch log (I call them logs) that I stripped the bark off of was not cracked when I last saw it. If all or most of these tests give favorable results, then I've got a nice easy to harvest and process, forest product.

I really like the tidy look and uniformity of growth. The leaves rake easily and are perfect as a mulch. On my next trip, I'm going to harvest some more. Some will be left out in the sun, some will be dried under the shade of trees and some will be stored in the cottage. I'm going to try the draw knife on green and dried wood. I'll post results.
 
Brian Hamalainen
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Location: Chimacum, WA Sunset Zone 5, USDA Zone 8B
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Dale: As always, I'm very interested in your findings. Being "just across the pond" (on a good day, I can see Victoria from a place within a 5 minute's drive of my appartment), I'm sure I could find some place to grow this around here.

Of course, I'd want to find a US source to avoid possible problems with "Agricultural Inspections" at the border.

Funny that, with a few exceptions, I can take a plant from FLORIDA, 4,000km/2,500 miles away, on the other side of continent, but I can't take a plant from "right over there *points*", because nature and plants fully respect Human International Boarders.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Brian Hamalainen wrote:because nature and plants fully respect Human International Boarders.


Ah haha! Yeah...

I might have a source for this tree (or one very very similar) on this side of the border. I'll shoot you a line after my next good walk.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The bark is much harder to strip as the season gets drier. It took 5 times longer on those stacked against the cottage. I will only cut in winter and spring when I intend to strip. For bark covered poles, I think any season will do.

In order to test whether little trees will crack while drying, I stripped some and left them in a sunny location during the dryest two weeks of the year. Forest fire risk is high right now. No campfires or chainsaws allowed. None of it cracked. They weigh half as much now. I also stripped some Douglas fir and Grand fir saplings. No cracking. I won't dry in full sun again. It was a test. I'll probably strip logs where they are cut and lean them vertically against the trunks of the nearest cedars. This is shady and the dryest spot in winter. In this way, I won't lug a lot of water weight out of the bush. I do the same with firewood. I don't stand it up. Instead, I leave it where it is cut. By September it is very dry.
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Mat Smith
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Wow, they look great. Lots of long straight poles and the bark seems to strip off easily in big pieces.
I really need to find out what can be grown here in Subtropical Queensland.....
 
Dale Hodgins
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Mat Smith wrote:Wow, they look great. Lots of long straight poles and the bark seems to strip off easily in big pieces.
I really need to find out what can be grown here in Subtropical Queensland.....
An enormous number of trees can be grown in your climate. Check for invasiveness.

I used a couple of my fir poles to pry and twist out some small stumps. I can use my full weight without breaking them. Two stumps had spaces between large roots where I was able to insert the thick 3 inch end. My customer held the thin end of the 10 foot pole and as she applied about 40 lb of pressure, I chopped at roots that were now in tension as she slowly walked a 180 arc. Then pop, out they came ! She was very surprised at how much her strength was increased using a long lever.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Mat Smith
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
Mat Smith wrote:Wow, they look great. Lots of long straight poles and the bark seems to strip off easily in big pieces.
I really need to find out what can be grown here in Subtropical Queensland.....
An enormous number of trees can be grown in your climate. Check for invasiveness.


One of my concerns is that once I get a property and start planting trees, if I want to ever cut them down and use them I need to be careful:
If I plant native trees which grow well here and provide beneficial habitat, once they get above 4m I am not allowed to cut them down without first asking permission from council, so I am looking down the non-native route.
As you say, some of the introduced species can be and are quite invasive here already, so I'll have to find something in the middle of the 2!
 
Dale Hodgins
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My brother has the same problem in Mexico. Idiotic laws prevent people from growing tree crops and instead they're flooded with corn. Plant something sensible and you effectively forfeit your land. Many would reforest parts of their farms but they dare not.

There should be some provision for those who create something from nothing. Turn a burnt out pasture into a forest or wetland and this should not come with the threat of punishment.
 
Dale Hodgins
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After the wood sits out for a month or so of rain,  it turns a very consistent black color. I assume this is mildew.

I will dry some of the wood and see if the color holds true. Experiences has shown me that most woods that are stained this way are very difficult to bring back to their former color.

So,  it appears that nature gives us two natural colors for this product.  Or, if it was taken out of the rain earlier,  I supposed some intermediate level of staining would be achieved.
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Scott Arico
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I know that this is not exactly what you all are talking about, but given that a lot of the trees West of the Rockies are conifers, I thought that this was relevant. Has anyone heard of 'stump culture'? Apparently it is a way of coppicing conifers, and a lot of christmast tree farms use it. Here is a link that describes it: http://www.mast-producing-trees.org/2010/11/stump-culture-coppice-for-conifers/
 
Brian Hamalainen
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Dale: Have you done your nail-/screw-holding tests on these poles yet? Have you figured out how deep/prevalent the dark staining usually is? Also, to clarify, the poles you peeled but brought inside/kept out of the rain, what was their color like a few months after peeling?

Data. We like data! Please feed us your findings!

Thank you for sharing. Brian.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Brian,

Have you got a hold of some willow for yourself yet? It's totally that time of year. The buds look way different than alder.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Dale,

What is that? Miners lettuce? Growing on the shade cloth in your last couple pics.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Brian Hamalainen wrote:Dale: Have you done your nail-/screw-holding tests on these poles yet? Have you figured out how deep/prevalent the dark staining usually is? Also, to clarify, the poles you peeled but brought inside/kept out of the rain, what was their color like a few months after peeling?

Data. We like data! Please feed us your findings!

Thank you for sharing. Brian.


I have used a couple of the pieces for bracing on another project. Screws go in quite readily,  even when it's somewhat dry.

 No tests have been conducted on the dark staining. It seems to turn more a dark gray with time.

 The pieces that were stored inside, got only very slightly darker that they were originally.

 None of the wood cracked.
........
Landon, I have no information about the small plants on the cloth.
 
Landon Sunrich
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You should nibble some they're pretty tasty!
 
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