What Is Pollarding?

Pollarding is a method of pruning trees most commonly used to help keep them smaller than they would naturally grow. For the best results, you should start the pollarding process while the tree is young and has reached the desired height you wish to keep it. By pollarding a tree in its infancy, you will have more control over how the tree will look, and it’s also much healthier to pollard a younger tree than an older, well-established specimen.

A Guildford Tree Surgeons arborist felling a dangerous tree

The art of pollarding trees began in medieval times, and it’s proven to be a popular way of managing trees ever since. Historically, we would pollard trees to provide animal food or as fuel for burning. In recent years, we’ve adopted pollarding for use in built-up areas to reduce the amount of shade cast by the crown, increasing air circulation and making them a more manageable size for their location.

When trees encroach on buildings, roads and overhead services, they can become a real problem. With this in mind, councils and local planning authorities often choose tree pollarding as their preferred management choice. One thing to consider when deciding to pollard a tree is that you will need to have it re-pollarded regularly. When a tree is pollarded, the regrowth often grows back with weak unions; if the regrowth is left and becomes weighty, you risk the union failing, which may cause untold damage.

Another thing to consider is that not all trees are suitable for pollarding. If you pollard the wrong tree species, an old tree or one in poor health, it may become stressed and cause it to die.
A few examples of species which can be pollarded include:
Ash, Common Lime, Elm, Elder, Eucalyptus and London plane. Willow and Sycamore can also be pollarded, but you must re-pollard these regularly due to the weakness of the wood.

At Guildford Tree Surgeons, our arborists have a wealth of experience pollarding trees of all ages, sizes and species. Our knowledgeable staff can assess your trees at the quotation stage and suggest their suitability. If pollarding is unsuitable for a specific tree, we’ll happily recommend alternative options to reach your desired goal. For more information about pollarding, visit our tree pollarding service page or contact us today to arrange a free consultation, written quotation and friendly advice.