And Still the Coppicing Continues…

Tuesday, January 10th 2017

Our Tuesday volunteers continued this year’s coppice block today as the main task, with help from the Dales School who were back at Foxglove after the Christmas holidays.

Coppicing involves repeatedly felling the same stump near to the ground and then allowing shoots to re-grow. This maintains trees at a juvenile stage and creates woodland with multi-stemmed trees. Along boundaries and net rides we sometime pollard trees instead. This involves removal of the upper branches of a tree nearly back to the trunk, promoting a dense head of new growth. Pollards are a traditional method of marking boundaries. Although it can initially look quite bare: Once an area has been cut, the soil is warmed by the additional light reaching the ground and there is an explosion of plant life as the seed bank is stimulated.

The Willow Carr running through the centre of the reserve is managed on a ten year coppice rotation. The area is split into five blocks, one of which is cut every second year. This creates a habitat mosaic with a variety of stages of growth, so lots of niches for our wildlife! This year’s block is close to the car park and the Field Centre.

We also leave some trees as standards, but these needed thinning so as not to produce too much shade, which could stunt the regeneration of the coppice stools. This is a job to do carefully, making sure to look regularly at the bigger picture, so any trees to go were marked up in fluorescent pink spray paint to avoid any confusion.

Semi-useful fact of the day: fluorescent pink spray paint is not easy to see if you’re red/green colour blind!

Meanwhile, back at the Field Centre Ann, Ann and Bob were tidying up the garden. Clemie looked like she wanted to help too!

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