CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It's that time of year -- for pollarding and coppicing. Yes, that's what I've been told.
These two words keep cropping up in recent gardening articles, so I've done a bit of searching to see what they mean, how they are alike and how they are different.
Done annually, coppicing is good for plants that have winter interest, such as shrubby dogwoods, willows and brambles, according to Horticulture magazine. Coppicing is cutting the plant down to about 3 inches tall. The new growth will be brighter next winter. If the shrub isn't very vigorous, cut only a third of the oldest stems.
The noun "coppice" means a growth of small trees or a forest coming from shoots or suckers. Traditionally, in woodland management, young tree stems are cut year after year to create "stools," to be harvested after it regrows.
In pollarding, the upper branches of a tree or shrub are removed, promoting a dense head of foliage and branches. Traditionally, pollarding was used to encourage the tree to produce new growth on a regular basis to maintain a supply of new wood for various purposes, particularly for fuel. Photos of pollarded trees look like the trees under the power lines in our area.
Pollarding is good for yellow twig willow (Salix alba var. vitelina'Britzensis'). "Pollarding creates one (or more) persistent trunk(s) with a dense head of new stems each year," Horticulture magazine explains. "Several strong stems were selected to remain in the plant's second year; the rest were cut to the ground. The trunks were trimmed to roughly three feet and new stems sprouted from their tops."
For the longest time, it seemed like all outdoor accessories had a country flair; while they were perfect for some, I was always looking for more modern designs.
Allmodern.com has some fabulous planters aimed at a more modern architectural style. I've also noticed a lot of the online merchants are offering outdoor options that suit a variety of tastes.
While I love the look of old barnwood and antique wheelbarrows, I also like stainless steel and recyclable polycarbonate. The Blomus Nido Bird Feeder, made of stainless steel, is quite fabulous in its design simplicity.
Open conference registration
The West Virginia Master Gardener Program, a training and service program for expert gardeners from across the state, will open registration for the annual conference to the public for the first time this year.
The conference, "Gardening: Preserving Our Future," will take place April 13-15 at East Fairmont High School and will feature leading experts in the gardening industry. Workshop topics include food preservation, organic pest-free gardens, birding, small fruits, invasive species, heirloom tomatoes and more. The conference workshops are geared toward midlevel to expert gardeners.
KDKA radio's Jessica Walliser, who serves as co-host of "The Organic Gardeners," will give the keynote address April 14, focusing on "neglected annuals."