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Coppicing is a pruning technique where a tree or shrub is cut to ground level, resulting in regeneration of new stems from the base. It is commonly used for rejuvenating and renovating old shrubs.
Winter stems of Cornus
Coppicing is a pruning technique used for many reasons, including:
These are a few of the plants suitable for coppicing:
Coppice trees and shrubs in late winter or early spring (February to March), just before they come into active growth.
Shrubby Cornus and willows grown for winter stem colour are now typically pruned from late March to mid April, just as the new growth is developing.
Coppicing is very easy, simply cut back all stems to within 5-7.5cm (2-2½in) from the ground, or to the previous year’s stubs.
Sometimes when a large tree is coppiced suddenly, it can take two seasons to come back into growth, so don’t worry if it seems to take a while to shoot. This should not be the case where trees or shrubs are coppiced regularly.
Birch for winter interestCloud pruningCornusEucalyptus: pruningHedges: pruning timesLiving willowPollardingPruning for colourful stems or large foliageShrubs: renovatingTopiaryTrees: formative pruningTrees: pruning
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In this fully revised edition, you’ll find updated advice by the RHS experts on what, when and how to prune.
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