Garden and allotment


Hazel is normally coppiced at 5 - 7 years. Weaving hazel to make fencing is a fun task but hard work to make! Toby Allen , has written a guide on how to weave a fence, which you can read here.

Chestnut timber

Chestnut timber is very prone to 'shake' i.e. long internal cracks either following round an annual ring or radiating from the pith in a star-shape. They massively devalue the timber. Very old trees are almost invariably 'shaken', so when cultivated for timber keep rotations down to around 60 years.

Chestnut is often coppiced at about 15 - 20 years and has a variety of uses, for different parts of the tree. Chestnut timber is brownish yellow, coarse and straight grained, durable, hard, strong, light and used for fuel and charcoal, joinery, furniture, fencing, sleepers. As fencing, it is durable in the soil for 15 – 25 years and is not permeable to preservatives.  It has a narrow sapwood ring and is 20% lighter and weaker than oak. When grown for timber it is usually harvested at 50 – 70 years.

Chestnut post and rail.

Needs to be cleft from 8" +  clean chestnut or oak. Posts usually 6'6" and either half round rustic cleft or 6" x 4" x 6'6" sawn with angled top to shed water. Tops always treated with PVA glue to stop them splitting. Posts usually cleft from 6" +  butt diameter.

 Post and rail fencing

Photo and information: Tim Saunders Rother Forestry

Picket fencing

picket fencing

By Toby Allen

Chestnut paling

Chestnut palings are very popular with farmers and gardeners. Here is a video from woodlands TV on how the paling machine is used by Aly from sayitwithwood.

Bean poles

Clean rods 8ft long, 1" – 1.5" diameters at the butt end bundled in 10’s, 12’s or 20’s

bean poles

Pea sticks

4 ft long fan shaped branches of hazel, birch, elm or lime. 1ft of clear growth at the bottom, with the butt cut at an angle. Stack off the ground with poles on top to flatten them.
Pea sticks

Flower stakes

Cleaned straight rods of any species, about 1.2m (4') long and 25mm (1") top diameter. The butt is sharpened. Bundle in 10s or 20s.

Hedging Stakes

5.5ft long straight poles – butt 1" – 1.5" diameter
Any wood – bundles of 12

Hedging stakes

Photos and information: Phil Hopkinson, Malvern Coppicing

Tree stakes

6 – 7ft long sharpened poles, 1.5" – 2.5 " diameter

Fence Stakes

5.5 ft long round or cleft poles, 2.5 – 3" diameter oak or sweet chestnut, sharpened.

Comments on this article

Malcolm Adkins 20 April, 2014

I want to grow beans over a path with poles that are long enough to walk under. About 8ft long. They have it at National Trusts Berrington. Where would I get such?

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