The Nuttery has been here for over 100 years. These rows of hazel are coppiced every January for the production of stakes and fences for the garden. We coppice a row of 30% total every year. The most we need is 2 year old wood for the fine straight pieces. After 3 years they blow out into mature tree form which is no good for our cane production. We do leave the odd hazel for its mature look and nuts. Proper hurdle makers use 6 yr old wood, but we use basic weaving, a simple art not split like the larger fences, ( an art on its own )
Harvesting the hazel
On a January day I cut the hazel with either a chainsaw or heavy loppers. I dont use a bill hook like traditionalists., but I do have a couple of different billhooks for shorter work. The chainsaw and loppers give me a clean cut.
I use a homemade form of 4×4 oak with holes drilled through to form the fence. I sharpen points with a bill hook and do a basic weave with 2-3 layers of stiffer cane then the main fill of hazel and cornus followed by a top 3 layers to lock off the fence. I cannot weave back into the frame, you cannot twist the young hazel so I cheat with strings.
These are the simple fences we use to hold back the plants. I also leave the two ends and the middle stake 6 inches higher in case we need to tie a support string on the taller plants. ( you won’t see this ).