Coppicing some notes


Takes advantage of the habit of a broad leaf tree to regrow from the base when cut down during the dormant season either from suckers (elm, blackthorn, white poplar cherry and grey alder) or from the stem. In spring when sap rises the stump (stool, mock) sends up shoots, which are grown on for usually 1-12 years (hazel ash e.t.c) or 10-30 years in the case of chestnut.


  • Straight sticks from coppiced wood used throughout human history
  • Senegalese chimps use spears (selected sharp straight sticks) to hunt bush babies
  • Malle habit of tree regeneration in eucalyptus trees {Australia), coppiced by bushfire
  • Whip stick spears used by local tribes of hunter-gatherers.
  • Earliest definitive example of large-scale use of coppice material in UK Sweet track 3800 BC Somerset coppiced
  • Carried out on a casual basis until the division of woodland for coppice management from 11-13th century, recorded evidence 15th century.

Coppice management

  • Largely coppice and standard arrangement, i. stools 4-6ft apart with canopy of standard trees (Usually Oak and Ash), right balance between stools and standards important. Too many over shade stools giving poor quality rods.
  • Standards grown from maidens (central stems)
  • Cutting understory in rotation (cants, coupes), no less than 0.3 acres and no larger than 3acres.

Over stood coppice

Most coppice woodland is now over stood or of poor quality longer cut on a regular rotation.

After 40years this will no longer be useable for coppice products only firewood and charcoal.

As stool density decreases the trees become susceptible to wind blow. Many animals and wildflowers depend on the rotational system. Degradation leads to a decrease in species diversity.


Conservation is the main reason for coppice management in the 21st century, but a variety of traditional products once and still could support a large rural workforce.

Charcoal, gate hurdles, hurdles, faggots, Stick furniture, walking sticks, pea sticks

Well-managed woodland can sustain more people per acre than any modem forestry technique.

How to promote recovery

  • Protect (fence area to prevent deer and rabbit damage)
  • Thinning (reduce number of standards)
  • Increase stool density through layering or stooling and replanting
  • Recut after three years
  • Leave to grow on for seven years


Methods for increasing number of stools




New rooted shoots can be cut below surface and replanted as whips.




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