Pollarding is the process in which all of the upper branches of a tree are removed leaving only the tree trunk.

It is part of a pruning process, but is not used very often nowadays


The places where trees are pollarded, are mainly on roadsides where it can get extremely busy, to help prevent problems such as branches breaking and falling, to stop trees from interfering with the lamp posts and blocking the light, along with helping to make access for big vehicles, such as buses and lorries safer on the road.

Another reason why trees are pollarded is because they have outgrown the space they have been given, maybe getting dangerously close to the house or electricity cables. Sometimes in cases like this, it is recommended to just completely cut the tree down and to plant a new one but it is completely up to you on which option you decide to take.

Pollarding can also take place because the tree is causing too much shade for either your house or the garden, but also because it can lengthen the life span of the tree and it also provides a good structure i.e. for building a tree house.

A final reason as to why trees get pollarded, is to create an effect. Certain places such as San Francisco at the golden gate park band stand have pollarded trees to give the place an unusual and beautiful effect.


A lot of people recommend to start pollarding when the plant is young and say that all shoots must be removed at the same time.

The best time to pollard a tree is during winter. The problem with pollarding in autumn is decay fungi could affect the tree should it get in the trees cuts, while the problem with pollarding in spring is that certain trees will bleed sap. Summer can also be a too harsh a time to pollard since the heat will make it harder for the trees to grow.


Once trees are pollarded, the branches will grow back weaker which means that the tree will need to be pollarded every year or every other year depending on how quick the branches are growing back.


Here is a list of trees that take well to pollarding:

  • Beech
  • Black Locust
  • Catalpa
  • Hornbeam
  • Horse Chestnut
  • Linden
  • London Plane
  • Mulberry
  • Redbud
  • Sycamores
  • Tree of Heaven