What Does Tree Pollarding Mean?

Tree pollarding is a specialised tree care technique that plays a pivotal role in urban forestry management and landscape aesthetics. This service can promote a tree’s health, control its size, and enhance its aesthetic appeal. Essentially, tree pollarding is a pruning method that involves the removal of the upper branches of a tree, encouraging a dense growth of foliage and branches from a particular height. This technique is not only about maintaining the desired shape and size of trees nor should it be considered a simple pruning practice, actually there is a strategic approach to pollarding that fosters a harmonious relationship between trees and urban environments.

Benefits of Pollarding Trees

Tree pollarding is not merely a pruning practice but a strategic approach to tree maintenance that fosters a harmonious relationship between trees and urban environments. Its advantages are manifold:

  • Improved Tree Health and Vigour: Pollarding encourages trees to develop a lush, dense canopy, which not only beautifies the landscape but also promotes a healthier tree structure.
  • Disease and Pest Management: By systematically removing old and potentially diseased branches, pollarding helps in mitigating the risk of pests and diseases, safeguarding tree health.
  • Safety and Risk Mitigation: The technique plays a critical role in reducing the likelihood of branch failures, thus protecting property and pedestrians in densely populated areas.
  • Longevity and Sustainability: Pollarding extends the life of trees, especially in urban settings where environmental stressors can shorten a tree’s natural lifespan.
  • Biodiversity Support: Pollarded trees can offer unique habitats for various species, thus supporting local biodiversity.

Is Pollarding Good For Trees?

Absolutely. When performed correctly, pollarding is highly beneficial for trees. It stimulates growth from the trunk rather than the branch tips, which can lead to a more controlled and sustainable form. This method is particularly advantageous for certain species, such as willows, limes, and some maples, which respond well to vigorous pruning.

tree pollarding

When undertaking tree pollarding you should pay close attention to best practices in order to achieve the best results: 

  • Selection of Proper Tools: Choose tools based on the size and type of branches to be pruned. For smaller branches, hand pruners or loppers are suitable, while larger branches may require a pruning saw or chainsaw.
  • Tool Maintenance: Keep all cutting tools sharp and clean. Dull tools can cause jagged cuts that take longer to heal and may introduce pathogens. After each use, clean tools with a disinfectant to minimise the spread of disease between trees.
  • Precision in Cutting: Make cuts just outside the branch collar to encourage proper healing. Avoid tearing the bark or leaving stubs, as these can lead to decay and infection.
  • Understanding Tree Biology: Knowledge of tree physiology is crucial to determine the optimal timing for pollarding and to identify the best points for making cuts. This understanding helps in minimising stress on the tree and promoting vigorous regrowth.
  • Experience with Species-Specific Practices: Different tree species respond differently to pollarding. An experienced arborist knows how to tailor the pollarding approach to suit specific types of trees, ensuring their health and aesthetic appeal.
  • Continuous Education: Professional tree care providers continually update their knowledge and skills to incorporate the latest research and best practices in arboriculture. This commitment to learning ensures that your trees receive the most advanced care possible.
  • Research and Compliance: Many municipalities have specific guidelines and permits required for tree pruning and maintenance, especially for public trees or trees in conservation areas. It’s essential to research and adhere to these regulations to avoid fines and legal complications.
  • Respect for Wildlife: In some regions, laws protect nesting birds and other wildlife. Professional arborists can identify signs of wildlife and schedule work outside of nesting seasons to comply with wildlife protection laws.
  • Community Coordination: In urban or residential areas, coordinating with local authorities and neighbours before starting a pollarding project can prevent disputes and ensure that the work is in line with community standards and expectations.

DIY Pollarding vs. Professional Tree Surgeons

While the concept of DIY tree pollarding might seem appealing, the process is intricate and requires a deep understanding of tree biology, proper timing, and precise technique. Choosing professional tree care services for your pollarding needs is a smart decision that offers numerous benefits. Certified arborists bring a wealth of expertise and experience, enabling them to identify the optimal pollarding schedule and methods tailored to various tree species, thus safeguarding the tree’s health and enhancing its visual appeal. These professionals are well-equipped with the appropriate tools and safety gear, ensuring that pollarding is conducted efficiently and safely, minimising the risk of injury and damage to property. Moreover, they possess a thorough understanding of local tree care regulations, guaranteeing that your pollarding activities are in full compliance with city ordinances and bylaws, thereby preventing any legal complications.

Why Choose Our Tree Pollarding Service?

Choosing our tree pollarding service ensures that your trees are cared for by experts who prioritise not only the aesthetics of your landscape but also the health and longevity of your trees. Our team of certified arborists employs state-of-the-art techniques and follows best practices in tree care to deliver superior results. We understand the importance of maintaining the delicate balance between urban development and natural beauty, and our services reflect our commitment to this balance.

Tree Pollarding Before and After

Before Tree Pollarding

before tree pollarding

After Tree Pollarding

after tree pollarding

Tree pollarding is a beneficial practice that, when done correctly, can enhance tree health, safety, and aesthetics. While the temptation to tackle pollarding on your own may exist, the complexities and risks associated with improper pruning underscore the value of professional services. By entrusting your trees to our experts, you ensure they receive the care needed to thrive in urban landscapes, contributing to a greener, safer, and more beautiful environment.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’re looking for tree pollarding services in Devon or Hertfordshire.

FAQ About Tree Pollarding


What are the potential drawbacks or risks associated with tree pollarding if not done correctly?

If tree pollarding is not performed correctly, it can lead to several potential drawbacks or risks. Improper pollarding can cause significant stress to the tree, leading to weak regrowth, susceptibility to pests and diseases, or even the death of the tree. Incorrect cuts can damage the tree’s structure and leave it vulnerable to infection and decay. Additionally, poorly timed pollarding can interrupt the tree’s natural growth cycle, reducing its vigour and overall health.


How often should pollarding be performed on a tree to maintain its health and desired shape, and does this frequency vary by tree species?

The frequency of pollarding required to maintain a tree’s health and desired shape varies depending on the species of the tree and its growth rate. Generally, pollarding is conducted every 1 to 5 years. Fast-growing species may require more frequent pollarding to control their size and shape, while slower-growing species can be pollarded less often. Understanding the specific needs of each tree species is crucial for determining the optimal pollarding schedule.


Are there specific tree species that should not be pollarded due to their biological characteristics or potential harm to the tree's health?

Yes, there are certain tree species that should not be pollarded due to their biological characteristics or because it could harm the tree’s health. Trees that do not respond well to severe pruning, such as certain conifers and oaks, may be adversely affected by pollarding. These species may not regenerate properly after heavy pruning, leading to reduced health and vigour. It’s essential to know the specific characteristics and tolerances of each tree species before deciding to pollard.


Can pollarding be used as a technique for all sizes of trees, or are there limitations on the size or age of trees that can be safely pollarded?

Pollarding is generally more suitable for younger, smaller trees that can recover and adapt to the pruning process. There are limitations on the size and age of trees that can be safely pollarded. Older, larger trees may not respond well to the severe pruning involved in pollarding, as it can cause significant stress and potentially lead to health issues. It’s important to assess each tree individually to determine if pollarding is an appropriate management technique.


How does the cost of professional tree pollarding services typically compare to other tree maintenance practices, and what factors influence this cost?

The cost of professional tree pollarding services typically depends on several factors, including the size and number of trees to be pollarded, the complexity of the job, the tree’s location, and the frequency of the pollarding. Compared to other tree maintenance practices, pollarding can be more labor-intensive and require specialised knowledge, potentially making it more expensive. However, costs can vary widely, so it’s beneficial to get estimates from professional arborists who can assess the specific needs of your trees and provide accurate pricing.