Diagram illustrating the coppicing cycle over a 7-20 year period

Diagram illustrating the coppicing cycle over a 7-20 year period


Coppicing is a highly effective method of producing a great deal of fast growing, sustainable timber without the need to replant.

Coppicing is a highly effective method of producing a great deal of fast growing, sustainable timber without the need to replant.


Coppiced wood has all sorts of practical uses for natural builders – sustainable fuel source, pole building, wattle and daub, pinning, braces, latilla ceilings and more.

“Coppicing is a traditional method of woodland management which takes advantage of the fact that many trees make new growth from the stump or roots if cut down. In a coppiced wood, young tree stems are repeatedly cut down to near ground level. In subsequent growth years, many new shoots will emerge, and, after a number of years the coppiced tree, or stool, is ready to be harvested, and the cycle begins again.

Typically a coppiced woodland is harvested in sections or coups on a rotation. In this way, a crop is available each year somewhere in the woodland. Coppicing has the effect of providing a rich variety of habitats, as the woodland always has a range of different-aged coppice growing in it, which is beneficial for biodiversity. The cycle length depends upon the species cut, the local custom, and the use to which the product is put. Birch can be coppiced for faggots (bundles of brushwood) on a three or four year cycle, whereas oak can be coppiced over a fifty-year cycle for poles or firewood.

Coppicing maintains trees at a juvenile stage, and a regularly coppiced tree will never die of old age—some coppice stools may therefore reach immense ages. The age of a stool may be estimated from its diameter, and some are so large—perhaps as much as 5.4 metres (18 ft) across—that they are thought to have been continuously coppiced for centuries.

The shoots (or suckers) may be used either in their young state for interweaving in wattle fencing (as is the practice with coppiced willows and hazel) or the new shoots may be allowed to grow into large poles, as was often the custom with trees such as oaks or ashes. This creates long, straight poles which do not have the bends and forks of naturally grown trees.”

Source: Wiki
Image source: Coppice.co.uk


Comments

Coppicing — 2 Comments

    • I guess you could let it grow larger over a longer coppicing cycle and then mill the larger poles, but that’s not the usual method.

      We discuss roundwood building on our blog quite a bit as a cost saving method over buying dimensional lumber.

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