What Is Tree Pollarding And How To Do It

Pollarding is the process of cutting back a tree or shrub to a certain height. It is used in gardening and forestry to control the height and width of a tree, and also to maintain an open crown for better sunlight exposure. The term “pollarding” derives from the Latin word “pollice”, meaning "thumbs." In medieval times, those who gathered firewood were sometimes employed to pollard trees in order to increase their height and volume before cutting them down for timber.

This technique will help trees produce more branches than leaves. Pollarding stimulates growth in shoots that are left, which can branch out to provide shade and keep the tree shape regular. The goal of pollarding is to maintain the tree's maximum height by removing its most vigorous growth, which would normally be the uppermost branches. Nowadays, pollarding is generally done for aesthetic reasons – it can create a feeling of space and light – or as a form of pest control. Pollarded trees are easier to spray for pests such as aphids with an insecticide which can help protect against apple scab disease.

The best time to pollard your trees depends on what type of tree you are dealing with.  There are a number of factors that determine when to start. Most experts agree that it is best to start when they are about two feet tall, but they can be started any time after they are one year old. The most important thing is that the tree be healthy and can handle the stress of pollarding.

The process involves removing some of the tree limbs to provide access for other limbs to grow. The first step in pollarding a tree is to trim back the top 1/3 of its branches. You should remove any dead or diseased trees that are nearby. Next, you will need to cut back any branches that are too close together at their point of attachment. Once you have done this, take note of where the branch was attached. Finally, cut off any remaining branch stubs with sharp bypass pruners or loppers and cover-up all pieces with soil or straw.

Pollarding is done at different times for different trees. It is done when the tree is dormant. It is usually done during the winter or early spring. As previously mentioned, select young trees for this practice since they grow faster than older trees and are less susceptible to disease. Many different species of trees can be pollarded, including Beech, Chestnut, Lime, Oaks, and Willows.

Pollarding vs Topping

Topping is an act or instance of cutting off the top (crown) of a tree and is not a good thing to do. It can kill or weaken the tree. This often occurs when the mature size of the tree is underestimated. The regrowth that occurs after topping is often a problem. Pollarding is the process of cutting off the top of a tree to promote branching and, consequently, to increase the tree's yield of wood. Pollarded trees are cut back every few years, usually at intervals between three and ten years depending on the species and use. The resulting stubs are then allowed to regrow from the stumps into young trees which have multiple stems close to the ground. Pollarding results in lower levels of soil nutrients being lost from organic matter decomposition because it leaves all branches intact. Pollarding is used in some parts of England as an alternative practice for forestry management.

Tips For Pollarding

Once you start pollarding your tree, you do need to keep doing it. How often you do it will depend on the purpose you pollard. If you do pollard to keep the tree a certain size or have a certain landscape design, then do it every two years. If you are pollarding to provide wood for a supply of firewood, do it every 5 years.

If you do not maintain pollarding, it will have an effect on the tree which includes the tree growing back with heavier branches. The tree will also get overcrowded and will be prone to diseases.

Let us know if you pollard your trees or shrubs.

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