Remember a few weeks ago I wrote about how to make your little property more oxygen-friendly? I said that I wait until winter and then cut certain trees down to the nub. They come back in the spring as "bushes."
EXHIBIT A: ONE OF ANNE'S OAK BUSHES
Remember I said that this "bush" has been here as long as I've lived in the house I live in now, i.e., since 1987?
You don't remember that? Don't feel bad. It happens to all of us.
Anyway, the bored Goddess Cloacina tells me there's a word for this. It's a verb: coppice.
When you coppice a tree, you cut it when it's hibernating. In the spring when the sap rises, and there aren't any leaves to gather sunlight, the tree trunk sends out new branches. Can you believe it? By doing this you preserve the tree in a kind of eternal youth. It will live decades, just like this. And then if you let it get tall, it'll get tall. Or not, you can keep it small.
There are trees in Europe that date to the Middle Ages that have been coppiced. When I was back visiting the family farm in Appalachia, I noticed signs of coppicing there too.
EXHIBIT B: COPPICED TREES
This practice makes me happy, because I have a maple in my back yard that I am growing to make a staff for myself. It's nice to know I can do that without killing the tree.
And speaking of killing trees, I came home from work today to this, across the street:
EXHIBIT C: MARKED TO DIE
The general rule of thumb in many forests is to mark "cut" trees with yellow and "save" trees with blue. Look at the color choice here. It could be any color, but the evil developer reveals his inner soul with one swatch of paint.
And so the majestic oak is slated for death, while its little offspring across the road lives on, diminutive and child-like. This consoles me.
A little free advice: Coppice a few of your trees! Why buy some expensive and fragile little bush when you can grow a nice native that will require no maintenance and will rock on for decades?
The economy is humming, so this free advice is really free. I won't have to pay you to take it. Have a nice day!