January and the last of the willow is ready for harvesting. The magic of willow coppicing is that it will grow back again just as vigorously next year. Coppicing all the stems off a stump will give you willow for weaving, these will all grow back again and more in a year’s time. Here I am cutting off all but two or three stems / whips which will encourage the tree to put all its growth into the remaining stems. At between one to three metres growth a year these quickly become trunks and can be harvested for firewood in five to seven years. And then the magic still doesn’t stop, the bottom 10cm of the coppiced stems can be pushed into the ground where they will take root and become new trees, and the older trees when cut for firewood will shoot out 5 to 20 new stems and the whole process starts again.
Once I’ve finished coppicing, I’m then cutting off all the lateral branches to encourage growth upwards instead of outwards. Finally I push a bunch of the cut off whips back into the ground around these willows which will hopefully take root and expand the bio-fuel supply in future years.
”The soundtrack is a Pony Folk acoustic cover of an old electric Dogs D’Amour track ‘She Put It In Her Arm’. It only has three chords repeated throughout Em, C and D but the lines are short and the the timing of each chord is critical and It still catches me out sometimes. Ok, a lot.” ~ Pony Folk