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coppicing purple hazel

 
Steve Kind
Posts: 3
Location: LEEDS, Yorkshire
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I have a single purple hazel that I use for garden poles. After initially being left undisturbed for 20 years it was cleared in 2007 and again in 2013. Can anyone advise me as to the *minimum* time I should leave it between cutting - and if it is ok to take a few, larger poles on a rolling program rather than clearing completely? Thanks
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1570
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
45
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Steve - depending on the purpose the poles are used for hazel is traditionally cut on between a 3 year and 7 year cycle. If you get much longer the wood becomes to heavy to work with hand tools, and if you go much beyond about 15 years the weight of the poles can pull limbs over sideways and snap branches or pull the stool out of the ground. Aiming for a complete cut every 3 to 7 years gives the best yield of usable poles and maintains plant vigor.

Hazel is easy to propagate by cutting or layering, so if you need to make more poles each year I would get some more plants established.

Regarding cutting teh whole plant, or just a few poles - if you cut the whole plant, or better yet a few neighbouring plants, at the same time the the new stems all race for the light at the same time and grow straighter and more vigorous.

 
Steve Kind
Posts: 3
Location: LEEDS, Yorkshire
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Thanks very much for your helpful reply Mark. That's really good news for me as it means I can coppice the hazel again next winter or the year after - I mainly use the poles for climbing beans and sweet peas so don't need them especially large. Sadly there is no way I could fit another into my garden without a major re-design or an imperialist land-grab on my next door neighbour - I could have this year as I cleared a laurel and an aging crab last winter - but that space is now occupied by a new crab, a red hawthorn and a new perennial bed The one that I have produces enough poles for my needs - they do seem to last quite well as I still have some usable from the first cut in 2007! Thanks again for your advice.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1570
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
45
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Steve - a couple of things...

It is helpful to add your location to your profile so it appears beneath your name on the left

Also, there is no need for you hazel bush to be on your own land. Look for a piece of public space (a road side verge for example). Cuttings are so easy to take - you pretty much just stick the stem in the ground.
 
Steve Kind
Posts: 3
Location: LEEDS, Yorkshire
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Thanks Michael - and apologies for getting your name wrong in my previous reply! - I have added my location as you suggested.
 
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