October 19, 2022

Pollarding - noun

Definitions: pruning technique where all the branches above the main trunk that form the crown of a tree are cut back.

Pollarding in the Forest Garden:

Trees are generally pollarded around 1.5 meters above ground, as opposed tocoppicing, which is just above ground level. There are many reasons for Forest Garden farmers to pollard their trees. It provides farmers with live fence posts, a regular supply of cut branches and foliage for fertilizer, fodder, or fuelwood. 

Similar to coppicing, the cut branches from pollarding can be fed to livestock as fodder. Farmers managing a grazed fodder plot often prefer pollarding, as it does not cut the tree down to the ground, so livestock cannot reach the new growth and interfere with tree development.

It can also be a useful technique when farmers have well-established guilds in their Forest Garden. As different crops continue to grow under one area, they begin to take up more space and more resources. Pollarding some of the larger trees in a rotation can prevent overcrowding and ensures sunlight can reach the lower-level crops.

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