June 24, 2020
Definition: A method of pruning that involves cutting the branches at the top of a tree.
Why do Forest Garden farmers practice pollarding?
Pollarding can be used to shape a tree, restrict its height, or create a more dense and even canopy. Many Forest Garden farmers also perform pollarding on timber trees to maintain a good central trunk and use the branches as fodder for their livestock. Additionally, a farmer can use pollarding if there is too much shade in their garden preventing crops from getting adequate sunlight.
Pollarding vs. Coppicing
The terms pollarding and coppicing are two common pruning techniques used to promote growth but there is one main distinction. When coppicing a tree, a farmer will cut the tree near the ground; around 6 inches above ground level. When pollarding a tree, a farmer will only prune the top of the tree once it has grown several feet tall. Additionally, when pollarding, a farmer may choose to cut an entire branch or just a portion of it. They may cut all of the branches or just a few. In our program, farmers are using coppicing (pictured above) much more frequently than pollarding.