As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, pollarding is a type of tree work that works to limit the growth of trees and shrubs to manageable sizes. Annual pollarding can provide the following benefits:
- Prevents trees and shrubs growing beyond the space allotted to them
- Reduces the shade cast by a tree
- Prevents electric wires and streetlights being obstructed in the street
Not all trees and plants benefit from this kind of tree work. Here are some that will:
- London plane (Platanus × hispanica)
- Gum (Eucalyptus)
- Elder (Sambucus)
- Oak (Quercus)
- Tulip tree (Liriodendron)
- Elm (Ulmus)
- Common lime (Tilia × europaea)
- Ash (Fraxinus)
- Mulberry (Morus)
- Some species of Acer (A. negundo and its cultivars)
Tree work as maintenance for young trees
You can begin pollarding once the young tree has reached its desired height. Typically a tree trunk will be left to support three to five branches, these being cut back to the required length. New branches grow quickly from under the bark and strengthens where the shoots meet the trunk. Over a period of years a ‘pollard head’ swells where new shoots grow each year.
Maintaining a pollard
Once pollarded there should be an annual cycle of cutting to maintain the pollard. Branches are carefully cut just above the previous pollarding cuts or, in some cases, may be left to grow if some leaf cover is required.
Tree work done correctly is good for the tree, the environment and everyone who has to live with it. Tree work done bad is a nightmare to behold. By all means give it a go if you know what you’re doing, but remember, the consequences of your actions will be around for a long, long time to come. Do the right thing give your local tree surgeon a call!