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wellington womble

Coppice trees

So, it turns out ash has some dieback disease that means there is a ban on transporting ash saplings.

What else can I coppice for firewood in a small acreage? Willow burns too fast and is horribly invasive. Sweet chestnut may not grow (others have had limited success locally) and oak takes far too long.no smilies
tahir

Hazel?no smilies
Treacodactyl

I think most quick growing trees are going to produce a less dense wood and thus a bit quicker burning.

Something like alder would be good, quick growing, nitrogen fixing and coppiceable.

I wouldn't rule out willow if you're coppicing as you'll be keeping it in check buy coppicing it.

Beech and hornbeam might be worth a go, not as quick as some but the beech on my woodland has grown quicker than oak. It does seem susceptible to disease though.

Hazel does produce good sized firewood eventually, worth adding some for it's other uses.

I would look round the area to see what does well there.

Edit to add, I wouldn't rule out sycamore or field maple.no smilies
tahir

Field maple definitely, lime's done well here too, as has Italian alder. I guess it's better to have a mix. Our quickest growing trees have all been stone fruits, cherries and plums seem to love it here. Might be worth planting some wild cherries that could be grubbed up at year 5 or 6?no smilies
Tavascarow

Sycamore.no smilies
Nicky Colour it green

what is the ground like? if it is watery then I would go for alder and willow - both are doing well in our 'woodland' at the bottom of the field - advantage of willow is dead easy to make new ones, just shove sticks in the ground and they take.
We cut our first proper (small) alder logs 4 years after planting tinysaplingsno smilies
Hairyloon

Is it the ban on movement that is stopping you, or fear of the disease?
If the former, then are there no ash in the area that you can get seed from?no smilies
dpack

hazel will burn but isnt ideal and it will take a few years to get any useful wood, beech is a bit slower but will coppice and burns sort of ok sweet chestnut is ace fuel

could you look out for some ash seeds this autumn ?but cos of the dieback problem a mixed planting might be sensible

does it have to be coppice or would a yearly planting in the gaps be ok?

if so there are quite a few fast growers that make a decent firewood

birch is ok fuel.larch is quite hot but some of the other pines are better.prob at least ten years to make harvesting worth while

i would go for a mixed planting(some whips but plenty of seed quite close spaced and start by using thinnings and first cuts as fuel ,that way you might have some useful stuff from about 5 years on and a sustainable managed woodland some years laterno smilies
Bodger

Willow is invasive, that's why its so good for coppicing. We cut half a dozen willows right down at the beginning of the year and there's already loads of regrowth shot up from the old stumps.no smilies
dpack

re sycamore and maple they burn ok but need a long seasoning

willow needs several years seasoning or it will coke the flue very quickly

horrid to work with but blackthorn burns well and makes super charcoal

if you are wanting a quick supply of fuel using a kiln (oil drum etc) to make char wood from coppice will cut out the seasoning timeno smilies
RichardW

re sycamore and maple they burn ok but need a long seasoning




I find that sycamore seasons quickly. Plus its easy to cut & split when green. Also worth mentioning that as the stems are long & straight its easy to handle as well.


Fell it in the winter, cut & split it as soon as you can even into the summer & it will be ready for the following winter.no smilies
Treacodactyl

Yep, I've burnt a fair bit of sycamore and found it seasoned very quickly. I would regard it similar to ash. I've also found hazel good to burn.no smilies
Lloyd


if you are wanting a quick supply of fuel using a kiln (oil drum etc) to make char wood from coppice will cut out the seasoning time


About ten years ago I put an article on here with photo's regarding charcoal making from willow.no smilies
tahir


if you are wanting a quick supply of fuel using a kiln (oil drum etc) to make char wood from coppice will cut out the seasoning time

About ten years ago I put an article on here with photo's regarding charcoal making from willow.

Have we been around 10 years?no smilies
Lloyd

Well, nine or ten? I shall look for the linky.

Edited to add: found the link but can't recall how to do the linky fairy thing:

http://www.downsizer.net/Articles/Make_your_own/A_failed_first_attempt_at_making_charcoal/no smilies
sean

Here you go

Ten years in October.no smilies
sean

Snap. :)no smilies Treacodactyl

Some of our alder trees today. They're about 20 years old and ready to start coppicing.

no smilies
Cathryn

We use larch, it is a bit spitty though.no smilies crofter

http://www.downsizer.net/Articles/Make_your_own/A_failed_first_attempt_at_making_charcoal/

We created airflow holes in the barrel base, using buckshot cartridges as we had no suitable tools in the wood!!

Excellent! :lol:no smilies
Mistress Rose

There is a risk of Chelara ash die back particularly in the east of the country. Possibly not the best thing to plant at present. As far as coppicing is concerned, it is a matter of opinion. I spoke to someone from the Forestry Commission about this, and her opinion, having studied the subject deeply, is that once the regrowth reaches 10 years old it is no more susceptible to the disease than an uncoppiced tree. If your ash is likely to die because of other problems like but rot, then best to coppice or you will definitely lose the tree.

I would suggest looking to see which trees are growing well where you are. Beech doesn't always coppice well; it is often grown as pollards instead. Hazel will coppice very easily but will take perhaps 15 years to get to firewood size. Sycamore and field maple both coppice well and will make reasonable firewood. Sweet chestnut will coppice easily and us usually run on something like a 20 year cycle the same as ash, but it only burns well if it is well seasoned.no smilies
Tavascarow

I tend to think the other way.
The more ash planted now the better.
More ash equals more chance of finding those resistant seedlings.
Just don't buy in plants from god knows where, collect local seed.
If they die they can always be replaced with something else.no smilies
tahir

I tend to think the other way.
The more ash planted now the better.
More ash equals more chance of finding those resistant seedlings.
Just don't buy in plants from god knows where, collect local seed.
If they die they can always be replaced with something else.

I'm with you there, everything I've heard says ash is very diverse so who know your seedlings might contain 1 or 2 resistant treesno smilies
Mistress Rose

Ash is very susceptible to ash die back in its early years, so not really sure now is the time to be planting new seedlings. Having said that, the seedlings come up like grass in some places in our wood and we are hoping at least some of them will be resistant. An alternative might be to wait until some resistant seedling come onto the market from British grown seed, or until a method of protection is developed. Both are currently underway.

Walking round the wood yesterday, I came across an ash tree that has butt rot; fairly common on our soil, and there was a hornets nest in the bottom. That is the second hornets nest we have found in the last couple of weeks. Rather pleased about it, although it does mean we can't do anything with either tree until late winter when the hornets have finished with them.no smilies
Mistress Rose

Lloyd, I am not surprised your charcoal experiment didn't work. The best way is to put the wood into the container then free burn until the smoke starts to clear a bit. Then put the lid on and restrict the air flow. Don't open up and add more wood. When the smoke goes more blueish it is done, so shut down completely. We haven't done much with oil drums, but that is a rough idea for you.no smilies wellington womble

Thank you all. Ash is such a good front runner, there doesn't seem to be a clear second place. I'd love sweet chestnut, but have heard it doesn't do well locally. I know willow is fast growing, but I feel that the payoff in fast burning is not worth the extra handling of volume (my workforce consists of me) there may be ash locally, of course. Can I legally dig up seedlings? I don't know the area very well, yet.

I will probably stick with tradition and grow hazel coppice with oak standards. I like hazel, and I know there is some onsite already as well as a couple of huge hoarse chestnuts. With some sweet chestnuts to see how they go.no smilies
Mistress Rose

Sweet chestnut likes acid soil WW. It will grow on a clay cap over chalk, but just won't take to chalk well. There have been a few planted in the woodland complex we are at the end of, and we wait to see whether the clay is thick enough.

Hazel is good on more alkaline soils, but to get it to burning size you need to leave it perhaps 20 years, as with most trees. If you already have some hazel, you can get more by layering to either expand the area or to produce more seedlings to replant. Burying the nuts also produces seedlings quite readily.

I think you can dig up seedlings, but you would need the land owners permission.no smilies
dan1

Poplar doesnt seem to be very poplar as a firewood (see what I did there!),
But it grows quick and copices well with easy straight chop-uppable poles. Ive taken down a couple of big trees (black poplar) and then harvested the coppice + it burns fine if seasoned.no smilies
Mistress Rose

I really hope you haven't cut any black poplar if you live in the UK Dan, as it is one of the rarest trees and doesn't seem to be reproducing.

Poplar can be useful for firewood, but it must be fully seasoned as it is full of water and sap when green.no smilies
dan1

I think, after less half-arsed research, actually they're Hybrid poplar, planted by my predecessors.
They do grow very fast, mindno smilies
Mistress Rose

If they grow very fast, I suspect they are hybrid, but I would do more research to make sure. Poplar was grown for matches for years, but suddenly the match industry didn't want them. Total pain, because matches are useless these days, and there are lots of poplar plantations falling over because they are not being cut and they are not too wind firm.no smilies dpack

iirc poplar is also rather good at removing metals from polluted land/waterno smilies gregotyn

Years ago in my sawmilling time, we cut poplar for pallet blocks. It was a strange timber to burn, very slow and burned as a block with the ashes staying the same size/shape as the block of timber started and not a particularly 'hot' burn, but it was free! It is still used as a pallet bearer/block, but I avoid it, especially fresh cut, needs a couple of years to be of much use on the fire.no smilies
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