Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Pollard Lot Next to Home.

A Pollard lot. 
These trees reach 20-30 feet (6-9 meters) above the stool (tree trunk).

I drove by this lot today and had to take some photos. I have not seen such a perfect example of Pollarding before; all the components were there to see all at once. I got a few odd glances from the Azorean locals as they drove past. I am sure they were wondering what this American was doing taking photos, but I didn't mind at all.

Pollarding is a type of coppicing. I have written about coppicing in one of my previous articles, and I would recommend reading that article for a more in depth explanation. 

A recently harvested Pollard.

In brief, Pollarding is a pruning technique where one cuts off most of the branches from a tree at, or above, head level. The branches can be used for any number of purposes: posts, poles, fencing, tools, crafts, building, firewood, charcoal, etc. Within a number of years, the branches will grow back out of the pollard, and the process can be repeated. Only certain species of tree can be Pollarded (or Coppiced, for that matter), and each species varies in how often it can be harvested. 

I do not know the purpose of this Pollard lot. It could be for firewood, but these branches are long and beautifully straight. I also do not know the species of tree. I asked a few people walking by, but my Portuguese is not so good. The best I could get was, "Oh, yeah, we all just call it a shade tree." 

I will try to drive by this lot from time to time and hopefully catch someone on the property. I will try to find out the answers to my questions, and if I get them, I will share them on this page. Nevertheless, these were some great photos I had to share.

These poles, after being trimmed, are about 20 feet (6 meters) long 
and 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) in diameter.
Great wood with a lot of potential!


  1. Hello mate

    the trees look like London Plane trees, Platanus species. These are the same species of tree that are along the Canal du Midi. You would only do this at most every 2 years, otherwise the tree cannot replenish reserves if the branch and leaf are removed every year. The growth above looks around 3-5 years old. these trees have been pollarded and maintained at quite a low height. its not usual in London to maintain them so low, probably another 5-8m higher.
    Canal Du Midi is an example of the height these trees attain. You prune like this to make the tree fit its space better and reduce water uptake. its not best practice but there is a place for it.

  2. Lee - I think you may be right. If it is not the exact same species, it is probably very closely related. It is interesting that many of the trees appear to be pruned back every Autumn. These trees are all over the place here in the Azores. Many people have them growing in their yards, and I think the pollarding is used to keep them smaller, more manageable, and less prone to breaking in the winds that come in the Winter. This was the only place I have seen them being pollarded for something more useful, like these wood poles.

    Thanks so much!

  3. It would be interesting to know how fast they grow back. This is a great use of space.

  4. have you been back by any chance? great pic and something i aim to do some day

  5. I drive by there about once a week, as it is on my way. I have yet to see anyone out there, and I have not seen any more work done on the trees. This is a long-term, extremely low-maintenance system. It is great!