Spring is coming and with it the longing to spend more time outdoors. Trees are starting to bud and birds are returning from their winter quarters. People are beginning to tidy up their gardens, preparing the soil for early plants like peas and mangetouts. We now want to sit outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun, ideally shaded from the cold wind. For Sylvan Skills this is the perfect time to cut hazel coppice.
Being strong and flexible hazel is ideal for making garden and plant supporting structures. We use it to create durable fence panels, hazel hurdles, bean poles and wigwams. Its branches will support a laid hedge or secure straw and reed roofs as thatching spars in Southern England. Longer hazel poles can be used to make trellises and pergolas.
Hazel coppice is preferably cut in late autumn, winter or early spring whilst the trees are still dormant and it is best used freshly cut. In the North East hazel is found growing naturally in riverine woodlands or in mixed woods which were planted in the 1980s and 1990s on former colliery sites. Each year we cut a ‘coup’ of hazel in rotation. The coups are dotted around the wood, so a mosaic of habitats is created providing enough light in the newly opened areas for butterflies and woodland flora. Red squirrels, badgers, and roe deer are either resident or visit the site daily.
The hazel coppice provides material for Sylvan Skills’ upcoming orders and projects. If treated properly hazel structures can last for 8 to 10 years. They are more durable than willow and don’t regrow if planted into the ground.
Over the years Sylvan Skills has created a wide variety of structures, the largest being an 80 metre long, continuously woven fence using hazel and willow. The smallest are hazel whisketts – small frame baskets made from hazel strips on an oval hazel frame.
Let us know if you are interested in having a hazel structure, possibly for your outdoor seating area or some bean poles for your vegetable garden.
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