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Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Lucy Corrander - Another Pollard - (Elsewhere in Dorchester) - 6th March 2009
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Hermes said...

Looks almost like one of those ink blot pictures. Great contrast.

bentonflocke said...

I agree with Hermes! Fantastic shot!

VP said...

Belgium seems to have a great liking for pollarded trees :(

easygardener said...

Nice picture.
I'm not sure about pollarded trees as a concept. We have some nearby and I find them ugly. There comes a time when they seem to be all pollard and very little tree.
They are very photogenic though, especially in silhouette.

Barbee' said...

As most of you know, I am a book worm. My one trip to England I bought many books and periodicals and shipped them home. Pounds and pounds of them (both kinds of pounds). One thing I read that impressed me so that I haven't forgotten was about pollarding. Certain kinds of trees could be successfully pollarded. (Hope that's a word.) Years ago they were planted en mass. On a three-year rotation one section at a time would be pruned like that. It took 3 years to recover enough to be harvested again. The prunings were used for fuel, for making charcoal to be used as fuel, and for other uses. I think I saw that as a systematic and efficient way to produce fuel and other products. It was new to me, therefore, interesting. One of the trees thus handled was willow. There was a name for the men who worked this occupation; but I'm too lazy to go look it up. Besides, all of you probably know more about it than I do.

mand said...

It's not often i like seeing a tree in this state (agreeing with easygardener), but this pic's an exception. Lovely to look at. 80)

Barbee, or anyone, what's the difference between pollarding and coppicing? Is it just the shape?

Lucy Corrander said...

Hello Everyone!

Working backwards - sort of . . . Barbee, I was going to ask if you are thinking of coppicing?

Mand . . . coppicing is an old country / woodland way of growing fuel which is now the subject of serious modern research - can it be a way to help solve our current power problems?

Pollarding is more of an urban practice. It is a way of restraining trees which would otherwise be too wide for their situation.

This is one in a row of trees planted in a pavement along the edge of a town centre road. The trees are pollarded into these impressive shapes - (sort of like candelabra, wouldn't you say?) so the branches don't get in the way of passing lorries and buses. The pavement here is wide so I guess they have been pollarded flat so they don't look unbalanced when the roadside branches have been cut away.

I agree with Easy Gardener that pollarded trees are usually ugly. It reminds me of foot binding too. Cruel.

I'm glad people are liking the photo. It's certainly a contrast with the one I took of another pollarded tree a few weeks ago. That one looked monstrous rather than beautiful!

Hermes - you are right, I hadn't thought of it looking like an ink-blot picture, but it does.

VP - why do people in Belgium like pollarded trees? Do you know if they actually like them or have found it a practical way to deal with trees in impractical places as in many areas of London and they simply have lots of impractical places?

Also - if you are able to say more about pollarding it would be really interesting. One thing I'm not clear about is whether the people who planted such trees intended this to happen or whether they didn't think far enough ahead.

If you know more about coppicing, that would be interesting too. As an idea for large scale fuel production I think it can be quite controversial.

In the meantime - thank you all for your comments!


P.S. Barbee - one visit to England isn't enough! I look forward to meeting you here one day! L.

Barbee' said...

No, I wasn't thinking of coppice, just pollard. I knew one was high and one is low, but I Goggled it anyway and this explains it better than I can.

"Although a differentiation between coppice and pollard can usually be made on the basis of height above ground that the cut is made - pollard above browsing height, coppice at or near ground level, a more diffinitive separation can be made on the basis of the number of 'trunks' that are allowed to develop. A pollard has a single trunk at the top of which is a crown from which multiple branches are allowed to develop. A coppiced tree has multiple trunks sprouting from a low stool."

"Oaks were coppiced on an exceptionally long cycle - 20 years plus, in comparison to Hazel 7/8 years - Ash - 8 -15 years."
(Info found here:

mand said...

Thanx, Barbee and Lucy; i've learnt something 80) which always makes me happy.

Lucy Corrander said...

Thanks, Barbee, for coming back on that. I didn't know all this before.

I'm especially surprised about coppicing oak.

It gets interestinger and interestinger!


VP said...

Lucy - Cardiff University do lots of research on coppicing as a means of cleaning water and/or as a source of biofuel. It meant I and the other 20 odd people on my masters course helped a PHD student plant thousands of willow on a bleak site in Wales in the early 1990s. I had a massive wound in the palm of my hand afterwards from pushing in hundreds of willow sticks into the ground.

As for pollarding - in towns I think its used as a space saver and that seems to be the case in Belgium too. On the Somerset levels it a traditional technique used on willow trees bordering streams and ditches. There's a strong tradition of willow weaving in this area of course, though I don't know whether the products from the pollarded trees are used for this purpose. In my experience coppice serves the willow weaving industry well.

HappyMouffetard said...

The shapes made by the pollarded tree are fascinating and the longer you look at it, stories start to appear. There are two people facing each other in a confrontational sort of way, there is a family walking one behind the other, and lots more.

Lucy Corrander said...

Hello Happy Mouffetard.

Are the confrontational figures also grabbing hold of each other?

I've not decided how many people are walking in the family yet . . . but there are lots of characters, I agree; comic ones and agressive ones. But, as far as I can make out, no truly friendly ones.


HappyMouffetard said...

Yes, they are! I'd forgotten about that whilst I was writing the comment, but when I reviewed the picture after I'd posted, realised that I should have said that one was grabbing the throat of the other!

Lucy Corrander said...

Happy Mouffetard - Now you've pointed it out . . . there's a whole story going on in this tree. If I were a film maker I'd animate these characters. The Simpsons would pale into insignificance!


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