Garden & property maintenance

Tree pollarding is an important part of garden and property maintenance that has its roots in history.

In medieval times pollarding or pruning back the upper branches of trees and shrubs provided a regular supply of firewood, basket weaving material and fodder for animals

Nowadays it’s how tree surgeons keep trees and shrubs smaller than they would normally grow. Today the main focus of pollarding in towns and suburbs is plant health and garden aesthetics.

We’ve written this brief pollarding guide to help you make informed decisions about your garden and tree maintenance, and to help you pick the right tree work service.

What does tree pollarding do?

It’s used to:

Rejuvenate certain trees and shrubs – Thinning out spindly branches, or branches with little strength, lets the life force of the tree flow into the viable part. A major advantage of pollarding is that it also allows for the removal of any rotting or diseased limbs – branches that could become a property hazard over time. (Its a bit like getting a trip back to being a teenager when you’re in your 40’s – no aches and pains).

Encourage the healthy growth of plants beneath the tree – Un-pollarded trees and shrubs can act like a canopy or umbrella above the ground. Tree thinning and pollarding can let sunlight reach the ground and allow fresh to air circulate. This stimulates plant growth and can make the garden feel like it has ‘opened up’.

Increase the amount of foliage at lower levels – Instead of your eye level being focused on spindly brown wood, pollarding makes sure the new growth is visible at a lower level. Landscape architects know how the height of plants and trees in your garden can dramatically change how the space looks.

Increase garden space – Unchecked tree growth, horizontally and vertically, can eat up landscape space and affect the enjoyment and value of your garden.

Change the balance of a tree – Top heavy trees close to buildings can become a hazard in high winds – pollarding along with other forms of tree surgery can reduce tree canopy exposure to wind and weather and reduce the chance of dangerous tree failure.

Keep trees and shrubs safely away from 3rd party services. Utilities (electricity lines, phone cables, street lighting etc) may be affected and interfered with by growth. As a landowner you may be responsible.

Note: professional tree surgeon advice and help here is an absolute must.

So that’s a few reasons why you should pollard a tree. The next question is, ‘is my particular tree suitable for pollarding?

What are the best trees to pollard? Should I pollard my tree?

These broadleaf trees are well suited to pollarding:

• Oaks (Quercus)
• Beeches (Fagus)
• Maples (Acer)
• Chestnuts (Aesculus)
• Willows (Salix)
• Planes (Platanus)
• Lindens / Limes (Tilia)

Don’t worry if it’s not on the list, a tree surgeon will advise you on the suitability and best time of year for pollarding.

A tree haircut?

And finally – did you know that the word pollard has its root in the word ‘poll’ which was an ancient word for the top or crown of your head. The verb ‘to poll’ meant to cut your hair.

If you’d like to treat your trees and shrubs to a good haircut you can contact us at Ashley Tree Surgeons here. With 20 years experience you can feel confident that your trees are going to look great!

(Ps – just like a good haircut on your own head, your trees will benefit from regular pollarding maintenance. Snip snip!)