Hazel Understorey

Published by timwilley on

Now that the thinning of conifers is well underway, it’s time to plant up an understorey of hazel and protect any self-set saplings.

A very successful model for a productive woodland is what’s known as ‘coppice with standards’. It’s a system that has worked in Northern Europe for centuries, where each woodland compartment is put into coppice rotation with selected trees left at well-spaced intervals to grow on. In England, it most commonly integrated a hazel understorey with oak standards. It’s a perfect partnership, with the low-growing and shade-tolerant hazel supporting the growth of tall straight oaks.

Here in the Old Wood, we’re not so lucky with the established species, but as the felled conifers give way to broadleaf, we can encourage a naturally regenerative system. The sweet chestnut, birch, and oak can find the light they need and a managed understorey will eventually be brought into coppice rotation.

Categories: Tales from the Wood