Pollarding

gates gates at gates.demon.co.uk
Tue May 5 10:35:11 EST 1998


In article <bellison-3004981334250001 at slip-129-37-26-14.la.us.ibm.net>,
Bart Ellison <bellison at comm.net> writes
>I would appreciate your views on why people persist in pollarding 

Well, around here, Thurrock, Essex, UK and in towns with avenues the
answer is very often to keep trees.  People want to live in an avenue
but the bus companies (double decker buses here still in some degree in
most places) do not want to get damaged and the water take-up of a
pollarded tree is a lot less implying that pollarding causes less damage
to drains, house walls and the like.  So avenue trees are often
pollarded.  We had a case recently when a bus was severely damaged.  Of
course buses move past the roads every day but it seems some guy moved
his car from the kerb for the first time in a long while and the tree
branches had grown long.  I think they cut that tree well back.  The
other reason for pollarding is to kill the tree.  Often, a tree is not
wanted but to fell it would attract attention.  There may even be a
preservation order on trees but lopping or pollarding is maybe not
pursued, though naughty, when felling would attract prosecution.  Over a
year or so the tree dies and by then everyone has forgotten about it.
i.e. you pollard it too much.  The local council, I think it must have
been, did this a while back along the Mardyke Way at Davy Down.  They
wanted some nice pretty little trees and have killed about 3 big trees.
Perhaps they were damaging the banks of the river.  Maybe the council
just hired cowboy tree surgeons.  Perhaps they just all need a good
slap!  

Willows are pollarded to allow cropping for baskets (osier) from the
ground and ducks (mallard usually) often nest on the stumps and ducks
lay eggs that some basket folk like to eat.  They can also be pollarded
for cricket bats as who needs branches?  All you need is the sufficient
regrowth to maintain the tree until felling.  Again the difference can
mean not draining a little stream especially in dry years and thus
saving all the willows, livelihoods, etc.

Beeches and other field/road side trees can be pollarded to preserve
ancient lights (so some folk dont get their view obscured) and to train.
(Whip and chair not necessary [g].)  Branches between trees are left and
even tied where they overlap so they grow together.  You end up with a
living rail say 10 feet up with shoots coming out of it and looking
nice.  You also ensure the trees live longer.  

You can re pollard trees but as the man said, maybe not for 50 years.
It is a valuable technique if, for example, you should have tween
planted 20 years ago, the trees are on their last legs and you don't
want to be treeless.  Again private estates' gardeners and council folk
may do such things for continuity purposes.  While the pollards get a
new lease of life they shelter the new tween planting which doesn't look
too new or odd.  A tree crown pollarded should produce secondary crowns
and lots of growth within a few years.  Limes and other trees in avenues
may be pollarded similarly.

Fruit trees can be pollarded and were but of course these days we have
dwarf stock and even family apple trees with a few varieties on each
grafted rootstock.  I have seen it done to roses too but there purely to
give vigour to a favoured old rose that decorates a house, arbour, etc.
the old not yet seeming worthy of giving way to the new.  This way a
Versailles summer house could, for example, look much as it did when
built for posterity purposes but for a really thick and nasty root area
you can hide with a bush.  

Many people want to do away with trees in gardens (small UK ones) they
really only need to pollard.  Apart from this there are only 2 ways to
prune trees to either promote (normal) or inhibit growth.  It doesn't
cut the tree back though.  By pruning new shoots coming through after
pollarding you can get a new smaller tree in a naturalistic tree shape.
The trouble is everyone forgets to prune.

So, to answer the original question, I'd say it is done in New Orleans
to provide continuity while maintaining views and maybe reduce leaf
fall.  A tree may have 7 times the leaves it needs to survive and not
picking up 6 sevenths saves labour costs and improves slipperiness on
paved areas.  Multiply this by the number of trees and the local
authority may find this compelling.

I could go on but would want to a) consult a book and b) get the money
from writing one [g].

Luv and kisses on the bottom to one and all

KIND REGARDS FROM:

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  LES BALLARD, TREE WIZARD, C/O BM: GATES OF ANNWN, LONDON WC1N 3XX, U.K.
                            44+(0)1708 863080



 



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