The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1455: Keyline Design and Coppice Agroforestry with Mark Krawczyk


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    My guest for this episode is Mark Krawczyk, a permaculture designer and teacher from Vermont. He is also the co-author, along with Dave Jacke, of forthcoming book Coppice Agroforestry – Perennial Silviculture for the 21st Century.

    Mark and I sat down and talked about keyline design and coppice work. Along the way we touch on three species he recommends experimenting with for a beginner to coppice, as well as his tool kit for this woods work. We also spoke about what species coppice well, including both deciduous hardwoods and some evergreens. This is an episode that contains a number of resources, which you’ll find links to below.

    If you find value in what you hear in this episode, or any of those in the archives, please make a contribution to the show. You can find out how at

    There’s quite a lot in this episode for anyone looking to implement keyline design or work the woods. If you’re interested in getting started below you’ll find links to the specialty stores Mark mentioned for Yeoman plow shanks, as well as places in the U.S. and abroad where you can find the various coppice species, as well as some of the specialty tools, including the Woodsman’s Pal. Also, one of my preferred vendors for hand tools, Lee Valley, happens to carry a billhook and froe. I have both on order and will review them when they arrive.

    You can reach Mark via email: and learn more about his work at:

    Keyline Vermont
    Coppice Agroforestry

    Three Species for a Beginning Coppicer

    • Basswood / Linden (Tilia americana)
    • Willow (Salix L.)
    • Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)

    Mark’s Recommended Tools for Coppice Work

    • Chainsaw
    • Bowsaw
    • Billhook
    • Sledgehammer and Wedges
    • Froe

    Evergreens that Coppice

    • Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
    • Monkey Puzzle (Araucaria araucana)
    • Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)
    • Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
    • Pinyon Pine (Spp. unknown)
    • Juniper (Spp. unknown)


    Keyline Design Plow Shanks

    A.H. Tuttle
    Market Farm

    Coppice Species Sources


    Basswood / Linden

    Black Locust

    Specialty Tools for Coppice

    Morris Tools (
    Woodsman’s Pal
    Lee Valley Bill hook
    Lee Valley Froe

    Are you practicing keyline design? Working the woods? Have questions after this episode? Let me know:

    Phone: 717-827-6266
    Twitter: @permaculturecst

    The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    (Episode: MarkKrawczyk)


    4 Pings/Trackbacks

    1. […] Keyline Design and Coppice Agroforestry with Mark Krawczyk […]

    2. July 11, 2014    

      […] Permaculture Podcast interviews Mark Krawczyk on keyline design and coppice work. The blog post lists recommended tools and species […]

    3. RLM McWilliamsRLM McWilliams
      July 21, 2014    

      Great info on a very useful topic. Your notes with each podcast add tremendously to their value to your listeners – in this case the links to some sources for the trees mentioned in the interview are particularly valuable.

      On rolling the ground down after use of the keyline plow to make it easier for farmers to run their hay mowers over the ground – this reminds me of a problem that has arisen from the shift away from sickle-bar hay mowers to disk mowers: the widespread practice of mowing hay too close to the ground. Hitting a rock or rise in the ground with a sickle-bar mower would require stopping to repair the mower (usually a quick fix), but the disk mowers, as the joke goes, allows farmers to ‘level the field’ as they mow – allowing the grasses to be cut very close to the ground without the risk of time-consuming stops. As most interested in eco-farming methods know, this close cutting can result in dieback of some of the grasses in the hayfield, and will SIGNIFICANTLY increase the amount of time it takes for the field to recover and be ready to harvest again.

      Due to costs of machinery, fuel, and time, many farmers understandably aim to gather the most volume of hay per pass over each field, but this practice is much harder on the ecology of the hayfield, and reduces quality of the hay produced.

      So – maybe one solution on hayfields that have been ‘keylined’ is to raise the mowing height!

    4. RLM McWilliamsRLM McWilliams
      July 21, 2014    

      It gets much colder in New England, USA than in merry olde England – but there is a tradition in New England of farming in the summer (with an empasis on pastoralism, including making hay for winter), logging in winter, and sugaring in the early spring.

      Logging in winter in this high-rainfall area minimizes damage to soils, and to other vegetation, including trees not being harvested.

    5. December 17, 2017    

      Farther south, sycamore is a good coppice species. Unfortunately ash is threatened by the emerald ash borer.
      Lee Valley also has a nice pole saw:,42706,40721
      (I added a ring and strap under the head to use as a walking stick)
      also a nice folding trail saw:,42706,40721
      Lots of billhooks out there, (sometimes called “brush axe”):
      and, of course, ebay and amazon.

    6. […] Episode 1455: Keyline Design and Coppice Agroforestry … […]

    7. […] Episode 1455: Keyline Design and Coppice Agroforestry … […]

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