Image Source - TREES, ASSOCIATES, and SHIGO (2 CD set).

Words on the topic by SHIGO

Photo on left is correct multi-stem pollarding by the Swiss.

Pollarding, or high coppicing, are the terms given to the practice of regulating size and shape of a tree or woody shrub.  To be done correctly, the desired shape is determined when the tree is young - 100% dynamic mass.  Which means, every place it can have a living parenchyma cell it does.  It also has a green cortex along the entire trunk.  The framework can be a single stem or a great variety of shapes.  Once the framework is established, all sprouts are cut back to the framework every year.   In some cases where flowers are desired, a few sprouts with flower buds are left on the framework.  The key feature of this practice is to establish the framework when the tree is young, and to cut back to the framework every year, or every other year on selected branches bearing flowers.  Many types of tree mutilation have been called pollarding.  Topping large trees is not pollarding, it is a crime against nature.

Proper pollarding requires constant attention.  Proper pollarding starts with proper training cuts.  Do not wound the branch collar, the swollen area at the base of a sprout, or leave stubs.  Know the design you want before you start.  Start with a tree species that lends itself to that design (e.g., London Plane, Sycamore, Linden).

Starting Pollards 

Pictures 1

Pictures 2










Suggested book on "Pruning".

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