October 12, 2022

Coppicing - noun

Definitions: pruning technique where trees are cut down to nearly ground level.

Coppicing in the Forest Garden:

Farmers will choose to coppice some of their trees for multiple reasons. One of the reasons for coppicing is to promote additional growth of a tree through the shoots. After cutting the tree down to its base, multiple shoots will soon begin to emerge and grow vigorously. Every time this process happens, more shoots grow back.  

Additionally, when selecting the appropriate species, everything that is cut back can be used as supplemental nourishment for livestock, or as green fertilizer. A farmer can simply take the remaining branchlets that have been cut and carry them to the animal pens. This supplemental nourishment will reduce a farmer’s expenses for livestock feed. Alternatively, the leaves and branches harvested from a coppiced tree can be chopped and dropped around crops in the field to provide green fertilizer and reduce moisture loss from evaporation. Larger stems and branches can also be used for timber or fuelwood.   

Coppicing is a common pruning technique for trees and shrubs planted in alleys. They can be cut down at the start of a cultivation season to mitigate shading from the trees. If used as a green fertilizer, they will also provide a nutrient boost to the crops planted in the alleys.