Biomass production and nutrient use of birch thickets with a mixture of willow on a cut away peatland in southern Finland over a period of 37 years was studied. Dense, naturally regenerated 16-year-old birch stands were cut down, fertilized with either wood ash (P 108 and K 339 kg ha–1) or PK fertilizer (P 50 and K 95 kg ha–1) or left unfertilized. The biomass production of the coppiced stands and one uncut stand was monitored for a period of 21 years. Soil nutrient and foliar nutrient concentrations were analyzed several times during the study period. Ash fertilization supplied more nutrients than PK fertilization and increased the soil nutrient amounts more. The foliar phosphorus concentration of birch on control plots indicated a severe phosphorus deficiency which was removed by PK and ash fertilization. Fertilization did not increase nutrient concentrations of the stem (wood + bark) nor the amount of nutrients bound in the biomass. Two energy wood rotations (16+21 years) produced 124–158 Mg ha–1 of leafless, above-ground biomass altogether corresponding to 61–78 Mg ha–1 of carbon. The highest biomass yield was achieved with a rotation of 37 years in the uncut stand (211 Mg ha–1). Corresponding values for mean annual increment (MAI) were 3.4–4.3 Mg ha–1 and 5.7 Mg ha–1. This study shows that the length of the rotation for birch in energy wood production should be longer than 21 years. PK and ash fertilization increased the biomass of coppiced 21-year-old birch by 23 Mg ha–1 and 33 Mg ha–1, respectively.