What is a Pollard

Willow Pollard

Willow Pollard

So what is a Pollard? Pollarding is a way to prune a tree where the upper branches are cut back hard. The tree could be cut back to a tall stump above the browse line, or a stub below the browse line.


Similar to Coppicing when a tree is cut back to a pollard it is kept in a semi juvenile state. Therefore the trees live much longer than trees that have not had this type of treatment. Originally pollarded trees were kept this way mostly in pastured areas to feed livestock animals. The trees were cut high (above the browse line) so the new growth would not be disturbed by the animals in the pasture. This would not work with coppiced trees as the animals would just eat all the new growth as it came up from the base of the tree. The trees would be cut back every couple of years when the leafy growth was present. This material was good fodder for the animals. On trees with longer intervals of pollarding, or neglected trees. Not all upper limbs would be removed at the same time for fear of killing the tree. So the pollarding would be carried out over a couple of years.

Other uses historically include fire wood, wood working materials for making baskets, wood for bows, fence posts etc. Pollarding also increases the light reaching the base of tree, allowing crops, or pasture grown closer to the tree.

Today most Pollarding is done to maintain a tree at a certain size. Some cities employ this method and the trees can be maintained at any given size for many more years before needing to be replaced had they not been. This method could be used almost anywhere, and can be esthetically pleasing to the eye.



Well that’s what a Pollard is lets take a look at what kind of trees do well with this┬átype of pruning. Here is the list I came up with below, I currently have some young Mulberry trees I am working with to see what will result from this type of care. I’m curious to see what kind of effect it has on fruiting of the tree. As a side note this can also be used on very old trees in some cases for rejuvenation. I’ll let you know in the future how it goes. Now onto the list!

Trees that Pollard well

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