Ash Coppice Dilemma

Apart from charcoal burning and educational activities much of this Winter has been reclaiming neglected and overgrown coppice at Plan-It Earth Environmental Project.

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Due to a land ownership dispute the ash coppice was allowed to be completely over-run with brambles and as you can see they had ‘scaffolded’ on the lower branches of the ash to grow over 12′ high!! Nightmare. The only way to deal with them without damaging the trees was to get in there with a billhook and clear it all tree by tree.

After a lot of hard work, a couple of pairs of gauntlets and a few scratches a lovely clean ash coppice is revealed.

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THe spacings are slightly wider than I would have liked, but after some pruning the trees look remarkably healthy 8 years old and ready for their first cut.

However (and here is the dilemma), with Chalara Fraxinea (Ash Dieback) doing so much damage, particularly in newly coppiced stools, do I cut them? Or should I leave it a few years and see what happens?

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