trees down to the ground

gates gates at
Mon Jan 26 22:34:49 EST 1998

In article <19980125034100.WAA11280 at>, KMorrisD
<kmorrisd at> writes
>Cut 'em off at the stump--and soon?  That would at least allow them to
>resprout.  I dunno.  Recent experience here in southern New England from last
>winter's heavy, wet snowstorms indicates that these trees will not straighten
>out.  Some may/will develop new leaders from buds and branches on the bent-over
>Sorry, I don't mean to be glib.  The mind boggles.  Question is, will the
>sprouts suffer the same fate in a few years?        
>Karl Davies
I have never encountered ice storms like yours in Britain but was old
enough to see the results of the big freeze in '64.  I was 12 but
already being taught tree lore and stuff and I had a young dog to teach
to pull me on a tin tray for a sled.  Since then I have had some truk
with the Ministry of Snow in New Zealand and learnt some snow dynamics
(honest guv. it's a science!).

Well, I reckon you should leave them alone to recover right up until
Autumn equinox 1998.  Cutting them away or trying to coppice them before
then could be a bit previous.  Meanwhile see what you can do to
establish a one-off market for your poles.  It could be quite high re
boating, garden poles, bean poles, pergola kits, (3 / 6 / 8 poles and
some bits), staves and so on.  Then you can cut to suit your market.

Undoubtedly a 4" trunk should straighten and gardening techniques would
have you parallell lashing each bent bit with a stick using natural
fibre (sisal?) string.  By the time the string rots scar tissue has
formed and the trunk has thickened.  However, I realise this is labour
intensive and you may prefer cable ties (removed later) over sacking
(for protection) and a prayer.  A feed in the spring will do no harm.
If there is a dry spell in February, toward the end, you could do it
then but not if frosty.  Otherwise wait til spring equinox.  With birch
a full moon is better still (it works, honest).  I guess you could spray
from the air.  

A straightened trunk will remain weak and may affect the timber but this
may not show until you've sold it.  (Oh joy!).  However, it just goes to
show that even saplings need protection by edging every stand and path
in it with leafy perennials and maybe sub canopy trees perhaps with a
crop.  All that said - and if you do decide to cut - birch does not
coppice well at all as far as I know but I don't know your strains.  Try
10 of every specie you have and see if they shoot.  Don't forget to cut
the bark where you want new shoots to grow.  A feed is still a good
idea.  In view of all the circumstances keep a check on the weather this
year.  Work out your average weekly rainfall and when the average drops
by say 20% or more make amends by watering within a further 3 days
unless a fall then restores the average for 2 whole weeks (not just 10
days) since of course it is likely to be dry a while when the rain
stops.  Total water commitment is likely to be enormous so you could try
stunts like challenging army or air types to do it for you in return for
camping on your land, that sort of thing.

Good luck and will be interested to see your response when your decision
is tested.    Regards


Tree Wizard of The White Brethren 
Les Ballard         Les at

c/o BM: Gates of Annwn       (The Pagan contact magazine)
London WC1N 3XX,  U.K.       44+(0)1708 863080

No copyright statement is attached as the author is litigious.

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