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Inspiration for a coppiced wood - help me plan  RSS feed

 
master steward
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Planning a coppiced forest in the Pacific North West.

I've been clearing brambles today.  Tough work, but satisfying.  It's a nice little patch of land, in the winter it acts as a secondary overflow for the pond, so it's quite moist.  In the summer, when we have no rain, it has a fair bit of shade due to some big Douglass fir, but it's one of the few places that has green growth year 'round.  

My thoughts are to plant some basket making willow in the swampiest bits this winter, then try to find some trees that would coppice well in our neck of the woods.  

I would like to use the coppiced wood for basket making, bean poles, hurdle making, and to make cages around young trees I hope to plant in a deer-prone part of the farm in a few years.  Firewood is another goal.  

Any thoughts on trees that will serve these purposes and grow well on the bottom, left corner of Canada (Mediterranean climate, roughly zone 9b).  

How about thoughts on distance between trees and the best way to stop the brambles from overrunning the place again?
 
garden master
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R Ranson, your posts are always an inspiration!  I am not sure about your part of the world but alder and poplar come to mind.

We are partial to poplars because they are fast growing and easy to grow.  You can almost just cut a branch off and stick in the ground and it will grow.

The only suggestion for the brambles would be to cut them down and put cardboard or something over them.
 
pollinator
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I would plant extra willows.  They are about the easiest tree in the world to grow and propagate and coppice well.  As Anne said, popular also coppice well and grow like crazy.  They also make good firewood as long as you get it off the ground pretty quickly after cutting it.  It would work great for hugel beds if you like them.  It rots quickly when left on the ground.
 
pollinator
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Willow for me too
It comes in all sorts of colours loves the damp you can grow it quite thick coppice it at ground level or any other height you want lots of uses .
I use a three stage method for planting
1 cut stick
2 poke in the ground right way up  about half way
3 have cup of tea
Works every time

David
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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As for brambles cut the buggers off at ground level again and again they die
No other way I am afraid apart from goat attack

David
 
David Livingston
pollinator
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A basket maker I know grows it in rows about a yard apart at a distance of about a foot between plants and cuts once a year
 
gardener
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For brambles, I have found that it helps to pull the root clumps rather than just cutting the canes off. In soft ground, this can be fairly easy and effective. Of course every bit of root left will grow again, but keep at it and they get much weaker.

A long-handled, hook-bladed tool can make this much easier, especially if you don't have a lot of finger strength.
 
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Historically, in my region, this plants are grown for coppice purpose: alder, hazel, poplar, oak, willow, some times birch  Even ash.
 
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Willow and alder would work well in damper areas and they should be native to the PNW.  we have both here in AK.  Another, non-native that "might" grow there that would be a super coppice specie is Paulownia Tomentosa.  "google" it or "princess tree".  Grows like mad, like up to 15 feet per year for the first year or two.  Sprouts back from the roots really well.  It can become a pest if not managed well.  
 
master steward
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I've tried to coppice alder, and it doesn't seem to coppice well. Hazelnuts and maples do, however.

I really like the idea of coppicing trees. I remember one episode of the Tales of the Green Valley, and they went into a coppice woodland and talked about how they would grow out the trees to different sizes for different uses. Let me see if I can find that video!

Ah-ha! Here it is!

 
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That Tales From the Green Valley episode had so much useful info about coppicing and building living hedgerows! And was fun besides. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Mulberry pollards well(almost necessary if you don't want them to become HUGE), has delicious berries, and the leaves are great fodder for ruminants. Poles could be used for stick furniture, trellises, or fence posts(no idea on basketmaking though).
Black Locust for Firewood, nitrogen fixing, furniture.
 
master pollinator
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Haven't seen sassafrass mentioned. That coppices well. Not sure it will grow in Canada though.
 
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Please advise. I have the opposite problem to solve. Some years ago I started a forest consisting mainly of alders and birches by scything two hectare area carefully around every self-seeded tree. Now when the trees are about 4 meters tall, I have plenty to choose which will go for coppicing for wood and which for pollarding for living pen posts, but I have no idea how to eliminate trees in areas ment for haymaking. I would love to avoid hardship of uprooting. Any ideas about when to cut them down, in what height to cut, so that I would not end up in coppicing/pollarding but actual withering in the next season? Or maybe cut them down in about 10cm above the ground and bark the stump, or even scorch the stump for every case? Any ideas?
 
Dustin Rhodes
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Great question Vlad; yes, I think burning the stump out is probably your quickest/least labor intensive option - the "stump dissolve" systems and encouraging fungal decomposition will take too long, and digging the stump out is too much work(unless you have pigs, and tuck food scraps around root system to have them gradually root it out).  

of course, if you cut the stumps down to ground level, you probably scythe over them with little trouble, and even scythe off new shoots if the tree starts to regrow - but it would leave minor bald patches in your hayfield.  if your animals will eat alder/birch shoots with the hay, that might be a win-win(not sure about edibility of alder leaves; birch is okay though).
 
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