The removal of all branches leaving just the trunk which is used as a last resort for a damaged tree or to reduce the uptake of water, in some cases. Once initiated, a pollard should be maintained by cutting the new branches on a cyclical basis. Branches that grow after pollarding should normally be cut at their bases in order to encourage the formation of a knuckle after a number of cycles. Cuts should be made below the knuckles only in exceptional circumstances, i.e. to prevent catastrophic failure.
Advanced Tree Services (ATS) undertake pollard management for a number of tree specimens in a range of scenarios to maintain both productivity and longevity. This is conducted by engaging in selective cutting of material from the specimen and should be carried soon after the tree has become established i.e., has a diameter 25mm and 50mm at the selected height of the pollard (generally 2m to 3m). If the specimen exhibits a number of stems, individual cuts will be enforced to ensure a ‘candelabra’ framework.
ATS advise that when the maintenance protocol has been initiated, re-pollarding needs to be conducted on a cyclical basis of which the frequency is dependent on species, age, location and condition of the tree subject to visual tree inspections. It may therefore be more viable to undertake select target pruning which will discourage dieback and decay. If the cyclical works have lapsed over an extended period of time, a crown reduction would be more beneficial.