Woodland management

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How to pollard

Pollarding encourages new growth and maintains trees in a partially juvenile state. Rotation length depends on the end product required, with trees producing withies for thatching or gardening cut annually, and those managed for fire wood production on a rotation of over five years.

Mature trees are generally unsuitable for pollarding as they lack the regrowth required and with the exception of yew conifers generally don’t pollard as well as broadleaf species.

Only trees with vigorous regrowth are suitable, including:

  • willows
  • beech
  • oaks
  • hornbeam
  • lime
  • horse and Sweet chestnut
  • yew

When and How

Choose young trees for pollarding as they are less susceptible to disease and show better regrowth.

Trees should be grown to the desired height above the browsing line (1.8 metres) and pollarding carried out in the winter (January to March), with a few exceptions (contact for more detailed information).

Branches should be cut leaving 5-8 cm of main stem and ensuring that all cuts are clean to encourage healing and water shedding.

Once pollarding is started it is important to keep trees within a rotation or they will develop heavy branches, overcrowding and diseases due to increased humidity and reduction of air movement.

Problems

Advice should always be sought prior to unmanaged pollards being restored, as with increasing age and time between rotations regrowth potential declines.

Neglected pollards form thick interweaving branches, which create dense shade and lowers diversity.

  1. Introduction
  2. Creating woodlands
  3. Introduction to coppicing
  4. How to coppice
  5. Pollarding introduction
  6. How to pollard (you are here)
  7. Ash tree dieback
  8. Grown in Britain

Tools

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