What is Pollarding?
Pollarding is a type of tree pruning that involves removing the upper branches of a tree. This can be useful if your tree has outgrown it allotted space or if you want to promote new and thicker growth. Either way, pollarding will usually result in vigorous stem growth.
Young trees are most suitable for pollarding as they are less likely to fall foul of disease and will regrow more quickly. However, the minimum recommended height to pollard a tree is six foot so that animals don’t destroy the new growth.
Tree pollarding has numerous benefits. The extra growth stimulated by the practice creates a thicker, more lush crown, which can offer better shade and looks more attractive. In trees that can grow particularly large, such as oak trees, pollarding can reduce the risk of falling branches, or even of the whole tree. Along with crown thinning, this practice, done in good time, can prevent a lot of damage and injury.
Tree pollarding is not the same as topping, which is a damaging practice that removes the top of the tree without any consideration for its health. Topping has not been a recommended practice in tree surgery and maintenance since 2010.
When to Pollard Trees
Certain trees are not suited for pollarding at all and we may recommend other types of tree pruning such as crown thinning or crown reduction instead. However, for those that are, the best time for pollarding is usually in late winter or early spring when the tree is dormant. This is particularly true for fruit bearing trees such as apple trees and lime trees, where prompt pollarding can encourage better fruit growth within season. Some trees may be best pollarded at different times of the year, or will tolerate the pruning whilst they are actively growing.
This is particularly true for fruit bearing trees such as apple trees and lime trees, where prompt pollarding can encourage better fruit growth within season. Some trees may be best pollarded at different times of the year, or will tolerate the pruning whilst they are actively growing.
Of course, if urgent pollarding is required to prevent damage or injury, then this should be done as soon as possible. In these situations, the work should not be left until the optimal season unless an expert declares it is safe to do so.
The extent and frequency of the work will again depend on the type of tree having the surgery. To pollard a tree too often could result in permanent damage, so it’s important that an expert advises and undertakes the work. Orchard Tree Surgery is fully qualified in this area and benefits from many years of experience.