Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sustainability On Small Acreage-Coppicing Trees

I have begun a very interesting study on something I knew nothing about, until recently.  Thanks to my wonderful sister-in-law for sharing the idea of this subject as something to write about.

I think I will do this in stages as I see there is a bit of information to sift through.  But the gist of the method of coppicing trees is this:  Cutting down trees species that will re-grow from the roots at the stump.  In other words, the roots of the tree put up new shoots to form new trees from either the roots or the stump itself.

There are several benefits to coppicing trees and given the subject matter I think it important to cover a few of them.  I would also like to include a list of trees that will re-grow this way.

This method of wood harvest is most effective if there is a forest or, at least, many of these tree species available in your woodland.  This is because, even though re-growth is very rapid, it takes years to get harvestable wood, depending on what you want it for.  However, in the days long ago, coppiced trees were harvested mostly for firewood.  The trees were kept in the juvenile stage and made it much easier to harvest with the ax or hand saw.  The trick, it seems, is to have these trees coppiced at different stages around your property for a continual, renewable resource, year after year.  (At the right, you can barely see the new shoots from the stumps of cut trees.)

Next time, I will go into more detail and talk more on how this is a truly sustainable, homesteading practice.  I look forward to learning more about this as I know of a couple of species that can be coppiced around here.

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