Coppicing and Pollarding techniques
CoppicingCoppicing is the traditional method of woodland management, by which young tree stems are cut down to a foot or less from ground level. In doing so, a multitude of new shoots are encouraged. Willow is traditionally grown in this way for use in hurdles.
Existing tree ready for CoppicingThe tree is cut back to near ground level during the dormant winter period.Shoots will grow rapidly during the following spring which are then left until ready for cropping. Once cropped the cycle starts again.
Pollarding is the woodland management method of encouraging lateral branches by cutting off a tree stem six feet (2m ) or so above ground level.
If pollarding is done repeatedly over the years, a somewhat expanded (or swollen) tree trunk will result, and multiple new side and top shoots will grow on it.
The main reason for this type of practice, rather than coppicing, was in wood-pastures and grazing areas where growth from the ground upwards was less practicable, due to the required area for grazing which would have been reduced by thickets of low tree growth. Pollarding above head height also protects valuable timber or poles from being damaged by browsing animals such as rabbits or deer.