Crafty coppicing

Flanders Moss NNR

Every now and again our car park needs a little makeover to keep it in ship shape fashion. Now that the car park wildflower meadow has been mown and raked (reported in a recent blog) our volunteers moved on to help us coppice a few of the willow trees and hazel bushes that surround the car park, to open it up a little more.

We started with the willows, which have been overhanging the sign and pathway.

The hazels were first planted about twelve years ago by Steve, the first job that Steve undertook for the then new Reserve Manager, Dave Pickett. Twelve years later, this was the last job given to Steve by Dave – full circle!

Coppicing is the practice of cutting plant stems close to the ground, which will then allow the plant to regrow side shoots over time. However, these new shoots can be very tender and tempting to herbivores, mainly deer. So with this in mind our volunteers got crafty and created hazel/birch/willow cages over the coppiced hazel stumps to protect them from nibbling deer.

Coppiced willows. By next summer, new shoots will be growing from the stumps.
We saved the bendy bits for the anti-deer guards!

First, about eight long straight stems of cut hazel / birch (sharpened at one end for sticking in the ground) were arranged in a circle around the hazel stump. The stem ends are then gathered and wound together at the top with thin pieces of willow. Willow was then used to continue weaving in and out of the uprights to give the structures substance and to help keep deer noses out!

Weaving the willow…
Putting in an ‘upright’

Willow is great to use for this part of the dome as with a bit of pre-bending they become lovely and pliable for weaving. However, don’t use the willow as uprights as they can root easily and you’ll have willow saplings around your coppiced stump!

We left a few hazel stumps aside without deer guards to act as controls so we can compare them with the protected stumps and see if the guards work. So it’s now a case of watch this stump….

About Ellie Lawson, NNR Placement

Practical Placement on Stirling's NNRs. Enthusiastic about birds, butterflies, bogs, brochs... and the rest!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Crafty coppicing

  1. Anne says:

    This is interesting to observe.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s