Long before we came to know the term permaculture, there was coppice and pollards. Coppicing is the process of cutting a deciduous tree near ground level during the dormant stage in order to promote the growth of shoots which can be applied to a number of purposes, from simple baskets to crafty coracles. Pollarding is akin to coppicing, except the plants are cut at a higher level off the ground. A variety of woods were traditional coppiced, such as hazel, sweet chestnut and willow. The later, willow coppice has been grown for centuries for products requiring small withies and rods. One of our favorite applications is basket weaving. Today, a variety of willow varieties are available commercially for planting in the spring.
Thanks to Stephen Hayes at www.fruitwise.net for sharing his enthusiasm and some of the general concepts of willow coppicng with us.