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
Winter stems of Cornus

Quick facts

Suitable for Trees and shrubs that tolerate hard pruning
Timing Late winter or early spring
Difficulty Easy

Suitable for...

Coppicing is a pruning technique used for many reasons, including:

  • Creates a multi-stemmed shrub rather than a large single-trunked tree
  • Generates new stems on shrubs with good winter stem colour (such as dogwoods and some willows)
  • Encourages larger leaves on trees such as Catalpa, Cercis and Paulownia
  • Encourages juvenile small leaves on certain species of Eucalyptus
  • Generates woody stems for firewood and/or charcoal making
  • Rejuvenates and renovates old shrubs and hedging plants that tolerate hard pruning, such as yew, hornbeam and beech

 These are a few of the plants suitable for coppicing:

When to coppice

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.

How to coppice

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.

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