Theo Hopkins thopkins at thopkins.demon.co.uk
Thu Apr 30 15:35:17 EST 1998

In article <3548CFE6.4EAE8E60 at forestmeister.com>, Joseph Zorzin
<redoak at forestmeister.com> writes
>Bart Ellison wrote:
>> I would appreciate your views on why people persist in pollarding or
>> "dehorning" or "short-horning" enormous ash trees or other unlikely
>> species. This is customarily done here in New Orleans when the branches
>> have reached the diameter of large hams and sizable stumps are left of
>> each branch. It seems unlovely. It is sone yearly. People are paid to do
>> this. Why is this done? Thanks for your help.
>Hmmm... interesting. I don't have the answer, but perhaps this is
>similar to the tradition in the Mediteranean countries where it's been
>done historically for fuelwood.
>Joe Zorzin
Pollarding is common in Europe, particularly in the Med countries, but
also Netherlansd, Poland, Germany, etc.

There are a number of reasons, including:

1. The 'German model of forestry' which used to say ....if you don't
manage trees they will die :-). Very tidy folk, the Germans. ;-).
This 'tidyness' has probably crossed the Atlantic.

2. For fodder. The leaves are fed to cattle, sheep, etc.

3. For firewood or charcoal. The small diameter stems are easy to carry
away without or before machines were available.

4. For small diameter timber for traditional peasant houses, bean poles,
tool handles, weapons, fencing, thatching spars, etc, etc, etc. Again,
prior to machines, pollarding gave small timbers without having to saw
from larger trees. Timber cleft from pollarded trees is infinately
stronger fot tool handles and bow and arrow bows, etc, as there is no
sawing across the grain. Oak bark can be stripped for tanning leather.
Willow when pollarded gived hundreds of thin wands for weaving, baskets,

In the UK, trees were coppiced rather than pollarded. It is the same as
pollarding, but the cut is as near to the ground as possible.
Pollarding, above the ground, keeps the regrowth away from deer,
livestock, etc. Coppicing gives straighter stems.

Pollarding and/or coppicing is a sustainable form of forestry, and the
oldest trees in England are said to be of coppice origin.

Theo Hopkins

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