Pollard

Polling or pollarding is when a tree's branches are regularly cut off at a height of 2-3 metres. This practice was far more common in the past but the practice has largely fallen into disuse, leaving ancient overgrown and top-heavy pollards scattered through the landscape. Some of the old pollards have not been cut for decades. Most species of broadleaf trees will form pollards although not many conifers. In the past, trees were pollarded to produce repeated crops of small-sized wood growing out of reach of hungry deer and livestock. The poles produced were used in much the same way as the coppice, and the shoots and foliage were cut for supplementary animal fodder. Pollarding was typical in deer parks and on common land or

wood pasture

. Trees on stream-sides and riverbanks were often pollarded too. Trees were re-cut every 5-35 years depending on the species and what they were used for. Pollards which have not been cut for many years have top heavy crowns and re-pollarding them should only be done by experts. Pollarding prolongs a tree's life - done regularly, pollarded trees can survive for centuries. Nowadays pollarding is mainly done for landscape and conservation reasons and on street trees.