[Market-farming] wood for posts - Coppicing?

maury sheets maurysheets at verizon.net
Thu Nov 15 16:47:04 EST 2007



I have grown hybrid poplars with the intention of using them for firewood.
They grow quickly and regrow after cutting even quicker.  However, they
would not be useful for posts (very light wood).  I had 5-6  inch caliper
trees in only about three to four years from cuttings planted on four foot
centers..  After cutting, the new growth was even faster.  I have since
moved and did not get to make a second cutting.  The Catalpas do grow every
fast also.   I do have a couple of them I transplanted into the yard.  More
tree farming needs to be done for firewood, etc. and for forage crops such
as Honey Locusts.  They will provide far more tonnage per acre than any row
crop.  Waiting for the first crop and harvesting are the major drawbacks.


Maury Sheets



 Woodland Produce                     


 Sustainably producing greens and herbs in the Northeast.




From: market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Bill
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2007 8:17 AM
To: Market Farming
Subject: Re: [Market-farming] wood for posts - Coppicing?


This conversation reminds me of something I wanted to ask this group. Is
anyone here practicing the art of coppicing to raise trees for fence posts
and/or fire wood? For those who aren't familar with it, coppicing (sp?) is
raising trees to a certain point, cutting them down, then allowing them to
regrow several shoots till the shoots reach a specifized size, depending on
their use. Then the shoots are cut down and the process repeated. Trees can
be made to repeat this process several times, allowing for the farming of
wood through the perennial production of trees. Is anyone out their familiar
with this practice, either personally or through an aquaintance? I'd like to
know how productive and difficult it was. What species of tree did you work
with? Many of the livestock producers who farmed near me when I was a kid
used Osage Orange, which seemd to last 50+ years. But the posts were awfully
gnarled and crooked sometimes. I wonder if coppicing would improve the
quality of posts from Osage Orange or Black Locust, or even Catalpa (I
didn't realize it was so rot-proof). Do coppiced posts last as long? I'm
establishing an organic wine grape vineyard next Spring and will need posts
that comply with organic standards. I'd like to use some untreated and
native if I can find something reliable.


Bill Shoemaker, Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
University of Illinois - St Charles Horticulture Research Center



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