Friday, July 31, 2009

Update on coppicing

You may remember that back in January I started coppicing and pollarding a few of the trees around our perimeter. Pollarding was a precautionary measure - at the time I wasn't sure that coppiced trees would survive the attentions of rabbits, deer and horses. So I coppiced a couple of hazels and pollarded a couple of others, along with an ash tree that was getting rather big and mature.

I don't think I needed to worry about coppicing the hazel. Here's a visual progress report. You can click on any photo to see a larger version.

Here is one of the coppiced stools as it looked in March.

By early May, pink buds were beginning to appear.

This is how it was looking in late July. In the foreground you can see the top of the dead hedge I piled up round the coppiced stool to hide and protect it particularly from deer and horses. So far there is little sign of damage from rabbits. If we can get through to winter without damage from animals, I'll dispense with pollarding hazels and only coppice them.

Here is one of the hazels I pollarded.

I don't think I cut nearly enough wood in my coppicing / pollarding activity back in January and February. The idea was to cut enough for to keep the wood-burning stove fed during the winter after next, allowing two summers for it to season. Part of the problem was that I got diverted on to pruning some apple trees. This produced some extra firewood but not enough to to make up for the coppicing I didn't get round to doing.

Fortunately the supply will be supplemented because a big oak branch came down in early May.
We got a man with a chainsaw to cut the branch up into logs that I can split to the right size to feed the stove. I'm about half-way through that job. I'm hoping that the logs are seasoning well even before I have split them. This stack is in a very sunny spot and all the big logs are off the ground.

The woodpiles are growing. By the end of the summer I hope we will have enough for the winter after next. For this coming winter we will probably have to buy in some extra wood for the stove. Green wood needs to season for two summers and as I only started coppicing last January we won't have the benefit of it this coming winter. The two piles on the left are for this winter. They are mainly from an oak branch that came down in the spring of last year and from a dead oak we had felled a few years ago.