Pollarding

Pollarding is a similar system of tree and woodland management as Coppicing, but the tree is pruned around 1.5 metres or higher off the ground after the tree has established a strong, healthy trunk.

This method is preferred where cattle or pests such as deer might eat young shoots and damage the crop of useful wood. Historically,  a range of tree species were used for pollarding, including Beech, Fagus sylvatica and Willow, Salix species.

Pollarding is also used as a method of pruning street trees where the species, for example, Horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanumn, would otherwise grow too large for the space available. Once a tree has been pollarded, the regular pruning, usually on a three year cycle for street trees, has to be maintained throughout the tree’s life. This is because the new growth will be relatively weak and more prone to breaking off and casusing damage to the main body of the tree.

In the garden, pollarding can offer a means of screening an unsightly view. Growing a species which has colourful immature stems, such as many of the Willows, will provide you with a decorative winter plant. This could be grown as a single specimen or as a larger group in a winter border.

 

pollarded willow by stream, pollarding

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