Posted by: phynbarr | March 23, 2009

Tree abuse

I remember, even as a child, being infuriated by trees being pollarded and ranting and raving when they pollarded the trees in the grounds of the office opposite our house.

I can understand that in the past pollarding and its cousin – coppicing were different ways to crop thin and whippy withies for hurdles and wattle. As I understand it, pollarding is when there is a mature tree which is chopped back to its main branches whereas coppicing is when the plant is razed to the ground. The difference being, I assume, that whilst it may take longer to get your first crop from a pollarded tree because of the fact that it has a mature root and trunk and phloem system, you will get future crops more quickly. With coppicing, you’ll get a crop annually but there is only the root system to support further growth.

Pollarded Tree

Pollarded Tree

I can live with coppicing. In fact, there is a footpath near here which, if it was in my gift, I would coppice the tangled remnants of a hedge to gain access to the ditch. Reaming out the ditch would provide a better water-course for the future and the spoil could be used to raise the level of the path. And the, as the hedge regrows, it could be properly managed to created a proper boundary.

But pollarding, pollarding is suburban command and control gardening taken to extremes. There is a bungalow in the next village which has a tree in the garden that is but a trunk and two substantial branches each with a circumference of around 18 inches.

It is no use to man, beast or bird! The best you could say is that you could nail a bird table to it.

And why?!

The most often used reason is that the tree is knocking on overhead wires. Well I’m sorry! I suspect that in many cases the tree was there long before telegraph was even thought of, let alone draped over a tree!

And in the case of my neighbouring bungalow I can see no rhyme or reason at all.

Surely it would be better to remove the poor unoffending tree and plant something you do actually like – a flowering currant bush or something.

Words fail me



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