I am sorry for not posting yesterday. I have plenty of various pictures, but I still have a huge backlog of work around the garden as well due to the six weeks that I have spent lounging in my bed drinking tea and whatnot. And I think it will take a few more weeks to get back on track.
These last few days I had to clean up some rubble from house renovations. I used it to repair the gravel-covered area behind my house, waste disposal trucks made some grooves there that needed filling. And as for yesterday, the weather was splendid and these are the fruits of my labor.
Also, I am totally knackered today, but it is hard to take a picture of that.
I was shredding and cutting wood from coppiced and pollarded trees in my garden. I have planted these trees years ago specifically for this purpose. The pollarded trees are willows, some local variety of Salix fragilis that unfortunately does not grow as fast as I would wish to. But I also got a few willows of another species from lowlands in Pilsen, which looks a lot more promising.
For the coppice, I bought poplar hybrid Populus nigra x Populus maximowiczii Max 4. It grows well, but it would be better if I had the resources to plow the area first. As it is, it takes for the trees two-three years to really take root and unfortunately, during that time a lot of them die to water voles. Water voles are a huge problem, despite the fact that I do not live anywhere near water. One year they got into my bonsai trees and totally massacred them, destroying even some very valuable ones. And they make setting up of the coppice a real pain in the nether regions.
That is why as of now I only have only one row of really established trees and one row of two-year-old trees that should hopefully take off this year. The rest of the coppice was planted last year, but this spring we had to renew about 30% of it and unfortunately due to my illness it was not done on time and properly, so it is questionable whether it will work or not.
The wood of this particular poplar tree is not as good firewood as hardwood would be, it is very light, almost like balsa. But what it lacks in density, it really more than makes up in volume. Even so, I am also planting oaks, hazels, and maples in the coppice, they sprout all around the garden anyway and this way I get some use out of them in the future. And this year I bought 200 hornbeam seedlings and planted them around the area near the hedge. That is the south edge, thus the slower-growing hornbeam won’t be overshadowed by the super-fast-growing poplars and willows. Unfortunately, it too is a very tasty water vole snack – one of the bonsai trees that fell victim to their raid was hornbeam and nothing was left of the tree back then except a tiny pencil-like stub and a few splinters. But I already planted hornbeam for hedge a few years ago and it thrives well in this area so I hope the trees in the coppice will grow faster than the voles manage to eat them.
I have several hundred square meters of my garden for the coppice, which means that in a few years I could grow a significant portion of my firewood (I estimate it at about 30%, or 100% every 3 years) on my property. That is one little project that I could do on my own to go from burning fossil fuels to renewables.
Ice Swimmer says
Up here, voles are the main diet of owls and many other predators, especially during winter. I’m hoping a few of them will drop by and have a tasty water vole snack.
What a great project, keeping fingers crossed for the hornbeam, hoping for a surge in the local owl population because they are gorging on your water voles. If the seedlings are a year old they’d be called ‘whips’, appropriate as they are often a single whippy stem. If you are prepared to wait whips are definitely the best way to establish most trees, though you will lose some the trees that survive will be so much stonger than older transplants, as well as a lot cheaper.
What chipper do you have? We could do with one, although what I’d really like is a local ‘shed library’ so we could borrow one a couple of times a year.
Wow, it looks like you were busy yesterday! The coppiced and pollarded trees look very nice.
You need some snakes.
chigau (違う) says
I get the feeling you are planning on staying there for a while.