Pollarding a mature tree is a form of tree surgery designed to drastically reduce the overall height and spread of the specimen that has completely outgrown its environment or, as the tree has aged, become unsafe at full height (though still a desirable tree).

In towns and cities, you will often see rows of street trees looking rather stark having had their winter haircuts – this is to prevent the trees from hitting overhead cables or their root systems having to find enough water to feed a huge canopy (lifting pavements and damaging surrounding walls and buildings) .

Trees with 'sprout' again

By removing the outer crown and a large selection of internal upper and lateral branches of a tree, cut back to a suitable  ‘growth point’-  the tree will ‘sprout’ branches from underneath its bark, in order to grow foliage.

This sprouting is epicormic growth “epi” (whereby an injured tree will throw out lots of buds and shoots to compensate for the loss of foliage, which it needs in order to photosynthesise and feed itself). 

The selected branches you now allow to grow strengthen and the tree starts to take shape again, albeit a lot smaller now than before the pollard took place. Over a number of years the swollen ‘pollard head’ becomes more pronounced, which new shoots grow out from each new season.

The multiple new shoots need to be managed as they are only weakly attached (not having grown out of the main stem of the branch itself) and need to be cut back every 2 to 3 years- left much longer, they will begin to fail.

Young trees, that have been planted in a space too small for them to achieve their natural height and spread (such as fruit trees, that left unchecked will grow to 10m+), should be pollarded (Formative Pruning), in order to select which branches (normally 3 to 5) will grow as your tree matures. 

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Our Assessment Process of Pollarding

Our team of experienced tree surgeons will advise you how best to pollard your tree whilst ensuring that the tree is worked on sympathetically.

As part of our initial visit to assess the Pollarding of your tree(s) we will discuss with you:

Once we have carried out our checks with your local authority and know the protection status of your tree(s), we will then prepare you a written quote, which will detail the work as agreed.

Tree Surgeon up tree pollarding and trimming branches
Tree Surgeon at work cutting tree with man holding rope at bottom
Tree Management with man up tree in back garden performing dead wood removal