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I have inherited a multi-stemmed copper beech tree that is about 20 foot from our house. It's currently about 20 foot tall, with the widest stem being about 15cm at it's base. It appears to have been cut back a few times and possibly coppiced once. It's in totally the wrong location with respect to the house and creates a lot of shade so I need to reduce it's height significantly. Would I be better to coppice it, cut it back to a managable height or should I take it out completely and replace it with something more suitable? Opinions gratefully received.
Do you like it? If not I would take it out completely. If you do like it, then just cut it down to below the size you want it to be. It will resprout. If you want it as a smallish shrub, you can then keep it within bounds. I dont think a 20ft copper beech 20ft from the house is the best use of a small garden. There are plenty of small trees or large shrubs that would give you more interest through the year.
If you like it, I'd take a third of the stems out completely this year, as if you were coppicing them. Then in a couple of years time I'd take out another third, then a couple of years later I'd remove the final third. You'll then have a smaller rejuvenated multistemmed copper beech.
Then leave it for a few years and when it's getting too big again, I'd repeat the above.