Cut­ting edge

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Life Gardening -

great to live with. Cop­pic­ing a fine oak or sweet chest­nut might solve the prob­lem. The first year af­ter cop­pic­ing, you may get up to 150 new young shoots, but due to nat­u­ral com­pe­ti­tion they will self-thin and you could end up with around five or 15, de­pend­ing on how long you leave them. Tra­di­tion­ally, hedgerow trees (oak, ash) were of­ten cut on a 25 or 35year cy­cle, sweet chest­nut on a 15 and hazel on a seven to 10, all de­pend­ing on what di­am­e­ter tim­ber was needed. If you have noth­ing to cop­pice, con­sider plant­ing some suit­able trees. One hazel tree will yield tim­ber, pea sticks and much plea­sure. Many trees pro­vide bee for­age too, no­tably hazel, alder, lime and cherry. If you have room, a small plan­ta­tion of hazel can be pro­duc­tive in seven years. It will shel­ter you from winds and screen you from neigh­bours. Plus it pro­vides a beau­ti­ful and us­able part of the gar­den. You can mix cop­pice trees with stan­dard­size trees if you pre­fer. Or­der bare-root plants now (dou­bleyewnurs­eries.co.uk), prefer­ably 45cm-60cm (17in­23in) high and bare root, which cost a few pence each. De­cide which species you want de­pend­ing on your soil and your use. If it is mainly for your wood burner, Grow Your Own Fire­wood by Michael Lit­tle­wood (Ecode­sign­scape) goes into the pros and cons of many species. Large ar­eas of wood are planted in ser­ried lines, purely be­cause it makes hus­bandry eas­ier. On small plots I plant young trees ran­domly with cen­tres be­tween 1.2m and 3m (4ft and 10ft) per tree. Close cen­tres pro­duce more wood. Some plants will die be­fore they es­tab­lish any­way (as­sum­ing you are un­able to wa­ter them in the first year), but even in un­favourable hot, dry first springs this will be un­likely to be more than 10 per cent. Make sure there is no grass around the base of the young trees (mois­ture com­pe­ti­tion will slow growth by as much as 70 per cent or even kill in the first year). To re­move grass, (care­fully) use glyphosate or a tree mat on plant­ing (acorn-plant­ing­prod­ucts.com) and don’t for­get your spi­ral tree guards if you have rab­bits. If you have a big deer prob­lem, mesh tree guards (also from Acorn) may be nec­es­sary, but oth­er­wise no tree stakes are needed. It will look scruffy and un­re­mark­able for your first three or four years. Put in a hedge or smart chest­nut fence if it wor­ries you. In year five it will start to blos­som as growth picks up speed and the scruffy grass and net­tles be­low be­come less dom­i­nant. Your bird­song lev­els will start to soar as your winds wane and you will start to mark out paths through. You may wish to add bulbs, ferns and wild flower plugs, too. Then you will need to find a con­ve­nient place for your new wood store. Wood warms you up four times, on plant­ing, on felling, on saw­ing and on burn­ing. Trees that at­tract the most wildlife at THE NEW ENGLISH GAR­DEN by Tim Richard­son with photographs by An­drew Law­son (Frances Lin­coln, RRP £40, of­fer £36 + £1.35 p&p). Tele­graph colum­nist Tim Richard­son has cho­sen to high­light 25 of the most in­ter­est­ing and ar­rest­ing gar­dens that have been made or re­made in the past decade. He cov­ers the wide range of fash­ions flour­ish­ing in English gar­den de­sign, with em­pha­sis on nat­u­ral­is­tic plant­ing styles. The gar­dens, exquisitely pho­tographed by Law­son, are fab­u­lous. WILD FLOW­ERS NA­TURE’S OWN TO GAR­DEN GROWN by Carol Klein (BBC Books, RRP £20, of­fer £18 + p&p). Klein be­lieves that in or­der to un­der­stand our gar­den plants, we need to look at their wild flower cousins. As gar­den­ers, she by Michael Lit­tle­wood (Ecode­sign­scape) One for the fire starter in your fam­ily, ex­plain­ing how to cre­ate pro­duc­tive wood­land by plant­ing the best species, main­tain­ing and har­vest­ing your trees, in or­der to be­come self-suf­fi­cient in fuel. With ever-in­creas­ing en­ergy costs it makes sense to Bak­ing quinces in a medium oven un­til soft, then scoop­ing out their flesh (mi­nus the core) and freez­ing it in small por­tions to add that won­drous fra­grance later to Christ­mas stuff­ing, cakes and pud­dings.

Let the sun­shine in: clock­wise from main im­age, more light will en­cour­age new plants to colonise be­low; sweet chest­nuts are ideal for cop­pic­ing; new growth sur­rounds a cop­piced cor­nus; cuts can be made with rel­a­tively small blades; paulow­nia leaves in­crease in size; cre­ate vi­brant win­ter bor­ders

GROW YOUR OWN FIRE­WOOD

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