Coppicing

Coppicing is an ancient method of growing trees which increases the amount of tree stems (and therefore wood) growing from a single stool, or trunk.

The tree trunk is cut back to within a few inches of its base in early spring, with the result that many shoots will then grow from this cut off trunk.

Coppicing is a method of woodland management which allows poles of wood to be harvested every 3-15 years depending on the desired diameter of the poles or stems. The wood can then be used for fencing, carpentry and fuel.

Sweet chestnut – Castanea sativa; Hazel – Corylus avellana and Beech – Fagus sylvatica – are three trees which have been managed as coppiced woodland for hundreds of years.

Coppicing can also be used decoratively in the garden; for example, on shrubs such as dogwood – Cornus; this is grown for its brightly coloured winter stems which are pruned back in March to encourage fresh, colourful growth for the following winter.

 

Chestnut coppice, sweet chestnut, coppicing

 

 


Chartered Institute of Horticulture