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Planning a Firewood Coppice


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Hi I’m new to Arb talk but I think that’s it great being able to draw on personal knowledge and how you can help people and discus things so easily.

 

I’m planning a small woodland coppice for fire wood for my own use I have a good arch to play with. I have a good understanding of coppicing but I’m really struggling about what to plant. I’m on the southern edge of Dartmoor with a relatively sheltered site, the soil in good maybe a bit on the wet side but nothing to bad. There’s lots of Oak, Ash, Sycamore of course, Hawthorn, Hazel and Beech growing around us with no problems.

 

My first thought is to use local Ash witch I can grow from seed to save cost however with Chalara fraxinea knocking around I don’t want to loose my whole stock. I was going to put other species in to mix it up and hopefully create a nice little habitat for wildlife. But the most important thing is growing something I can coppice on a fairly short rotations that will provide good firewood.

 

Can any one help?

 

Cheers Dave

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Lots of on line stuff about short rotation coppice. Generally need to use non native if you want really short rotation.

Hybrid poplar - very fast growing, look out for disease resistance.

Willow - good for biomass not logs

Eucalyptus nitens- slightly tender but very fast, easy from seed

siberian elm - very easy from seed

pterocarya fraxinifolia - easy from seed or cuttings

lots of other trees out there but these are ones I'm trialling this year.

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The internet suggests that SRC with willow can produce around 13 tonnes of wood per hectare per year (depending on lots of factors, obviously). 2.5 ish hectares to the acre, so approx 5 tonnes an acre.

 

Other woods will vary in productivity, but generally lower as willow is one of the highest (the highest?) yielding tree in the UK.

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If you're after firewood then poplar and willow aren't likely to be what you want. Short Rotation Coppice in particular is a bit of a specialist niche thing.

 

Ash would have been the obvious choice, but from the species you listed sycamore would probably be your best bet (although not strictly native). In the wet areas then Alder would also be worth considering. Birch is another native option for fast growing firewood.

 

To get decent sized firewood you're probably looking at a 20 year rotation. This may not fit your definition of a short time but much less and you'll be getting sticks rather than logs.

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