What is Pollarding?

If you’ve heard of pollarding but don’t know what it is, you’re not alone. Pollarding is a pruning technique for keeping plants, shrubs and trees at certain heights. It is used to keep trees and shrubs at a smaller height than they would naturally grow. It is normally carried out annually to restrict the height. Here are some quick facts to explain pollarding.

When a professional Tree Surgeon Dorset pollards a tree, the central leader of the tree is cut off first. The branches follow and are cut to be all of the same height. This is done as it helps to shorten the tree crown. This is done most often for health and safety reasons and the tree height is normally kept at least 6 feet above ground for human safety and to prevent grazing animals.

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The act of pollarding gets rid of lower and crossing limbs, a regular part of normal tree pruning. It can look a little unusual to begin with, like someone has destroyed the tree but you’ll soon see a good crown re-growing. This is why it’s crucial to pollard young trees, as older trees will take longer to regrow and green up again.

Most pollarding is completed in late winter and carried out by a professional because of the working at height element and the use of chainsaws. If you need any pollarding carried out on your property, contact a Tree Surgeon Poole, like Keiran Boyland.

The method of pollarding is suitable for areas where trees and shrubs are growing out of their allotted space. Pollarding is also a solution for limiting the area of shade that is currently cast by a tree. It is also carried out on urban streets where trees might be obstructing streetlights and electricity wires.

Pollarding can be carried out on the following tree species:

Common lime







Acer (but not all species)

Tulip tree

London plane

The best time for trees to be have pollarding carried out is late winter or early spring. The worst time to pollard is autumn as decaying fungi could enter the scars left from pruning.

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Once a shrub or tree has begun a routine of pollarding, the cycle should be continued every year with branches being pruned to just above where the previous pollarding cuts were made. Always have the work carried by a professional Tree Surgeon Poole.

When young trees or shrubs have reached their required height, pollarding can begin annually. The normal procedure is to leave a tree with between 3 to 5 supporting branches which are cut back to a desired length.

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