Coppice

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by Daegnus, Nov 24, 2010.

  1. Daegnus

    Daegnus Active Member

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    For those that don't know what coppicing is, its the growing of high heat value trees (in BTUs) that have a tendency to sprout several shoots when cut down to ground level. Generally large quantities are planted and then harvested in rotations so that there is a constant, regenerative, supply of firewood.

    Has anyone given this any thought or even started doing this? If so, what trees are you using or do you intend to use?
     
  2. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    I actually went the other route & grow yellow poplars (a dismal 17 mbtu/cord ) with various pine-types (old x-mas trees) to shield my fruit trees from the curious "freegans", I've found the sheer growth rate & short interval replacement time to outstrip the hardwoods... of course I grow them as a barrier primarily, curing & burning them is secondary (now)... I have the equivalent of 10 cords of wood in scrap pallets & would have 10x that if I had the space/inclination... I don't have the land to grow trees just to burn

    Tree Species and Firewood BTU Ratings Chart for Heat Energy Content

    Which Firewood Give the Most Heat Firewood Guide BTU Rating Chart
     

  3. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    I've considered planting either grey or black birch for firewood harvesting in one of my lower 5 acre fields. As I researched birch, I discovered the seed will only germinate in the presence of light, but the seed must remain moist.

    A little bit of a nuisance, but I think I can do it with perferated clear plastic on an outdoor seed bed. :crossfinger: Seedlings would then be transplanted to the field in an opaque sleeve to protect them from burning and critter damage. Sounds good in my head -- don't know how good it will work in real life.
     
  4. Daegnus

    Daegnus Active Member

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    You can also get seedlings from your local NRCS, Conservation District, or Forest Service (will depend on the state you're in), they'll usually cost a few cents to a few dollars a piece. Saves quite a bit of time and hassle in the long run.
     
  5. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    Horseman-down here in the opposite corner of the state from you, we have an abundance of dead elm trees that got blighted out. They're all stone dead and seasoned but many are still standing. Some are kinda rotty but a lot are still intact. It's a shame that they were Dutch Elm'd to death, but they make darn good firewood. Do you have them in your end of the state, too?
     
  6. horseman09

    horseman09 Well-Known Member

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    Not many that I know of, Jason. Our little eco-pocket is mostly maple, beech, ash and hemlock with a fair amount of veneer-grade cherry (or as it is know in the business, "churry". lol ) Lots of oak within a 20 mile radius, but not much here.

    The bad news is maple thript is killing the maple in large quantities, beech blight is hitting the beech, a hemlock beetle (I forget the name of it) is attacking the hemlock and the emerald ash borer is suposedly on the way. I can't imagine what these mountains will look like in 50 years.
     
  7. lotsoflead

    lotsoflead Well-Known Member

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    I have locust growing all over my place, it's very hard and burns real hot, when one tree is cut 20 grow back.
     
  8. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

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    This thread made me start to wonder why the really good firewood doesn't grow where you need it the most, Here where we heat for about 200+ days a year the only native "hard" wood is diamond willow, but mostly black poplar and some spruce and a little pine.
    Spruce and pine are decent fuel wood if you burn it right (good and hot) almost no ash. poplar has to be cut at the right time of year and seasoned to work well, willow is hot but a pain to cut , but it can lay on wet ground and still be dry.
    threads like this help to get people thinking and looking at things :beercheer:
     
  9. iouJC

    iouJC MAGIC Bullet

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    Hey Tirediron.....what time of year do you cut poplar?? As you can see, from where I am located, we have LOTS of poplar! I have it all over the place, but it tends to "slobber" when I burn it.....must not be cutting it at the right time of year, so if you would please enlighten me I would greatly appreciate it!

    Also a little known high BTU tree is mulberry! And you can eat the berries....LOVE'em!
     
  10. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

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    The theory is to cut poplar in spring when it is in bud , just fall the tree , and let it leaf out on the ground, after the leaves die off, limb it and buck it to length
    wait until it is frozen to split it . I havn't done this much, because we get lots of standing dead, not as good of wood but it makes heat ,more ash though