Saturday 28 October 2017

Popular poplar?

In contrast to the last week or so, today was a lot cooler with a chilly breeze and so we put the wood burner on late afternoon. We are self-sufficient in wood supplies because we have a thin strip of woodland along one of our boundaries. This was originally a line of poplars, planted presumably as a wind break as is so often seen on farmland. Poplar trees readily sucker and, in among the mature trees, younger trees are growing as well as other brush. Their suckering habit results in lots of saplings springing up, sometimes quite a distance from the mother tree, which can be a bit of a nuisance. Despite it being a fast growing tree, for this reason it would not be my first choice for boundary planting. 

Poplar boundary photographed in winter

The poplars are quite old and every now and then when we have storm strength winds one sometimes goes down. The last time this happened was with Storm Doris last February. One of the trees fell into the neighbouring farmer's winter wheat field; that is the direction the prevailing winds take them. I collected up as much as I could using a chain saw, but the farmer had to use his tractor to pull the main trunk clear as it formed a bridge over a 20 foot wide drainage ditch, which separates his land from ours, beyond the line of trees. We then both went to work with chain saws and the tree was trailered back to our place to sort out, saw and split.

Poplar does not make for the best fire wood because it is fast growing and so not very dense. It gives off a lot of heat but it burns through quite quickly. However, it is free and there's enough to see me out, so I'm not complaining. I usually also have a some prunings of hazel, rose wood and apple too, with the latter giving off a nice scent. 

Wood shelter fully stocked

Some rhyming guidance from the Scout Association:-

These hardwoods burn well and slowly,
Ash, beech, hawthorn, oak and holly.
Softwoods flare up quick and fine,
Birch, fir, hazel, larch and pine.
Elm and willow you'll regret
Chestnut green and sycamore wet.


  1. I like the wood shelter. I would imagine they can breathe and dry very quickly there.

    1. Hi Dave, yes it keeps them dry but well aired. It's 8' wide, about 6' high and 4' deep so it can store quite a bit of split wood.