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How to turn this linden into a pollard

 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1134
Location: Denver, CO
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I have a young linden, about 20 feet tall. It has branches starting at aabout 6 feet up and pretty thick along the trunk after that point. The base of the trunk is about 8 inches through. It is unfortunately in the wrong place to allow it to turn into a giant tree.

So, I want to turn it into a classic, European style pollard tree, with a short fat trunk, a big burly knob at the top, and lots of whippy sprouts coming off of that. I think classic pollards are very beautiful.

I do NOT want it to look like a "tree cowboy" hacked off the top of a tree. All around town, I see people being duped by tree crews who tell them that their tree needs "pruning" or "cutting back" to keep if from being "dangerous." Then they slice off all the branches at a certain distance from the trunk, or at a certain height. (This also happens under utility lines.)

Then the tree starts to slowly die back, at the same time growing hundreds of weakly attached sprouts around the old wounds. These then break off in storms, and create a mess.

How to avoid this? Should I top at a certain height, or at a certain thickness of the trunk? What do I do with branches below that point?
 
Todd Parr
Posts: 573
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Hey Gilbert, I saw this post a while ago and was waiting to see what kind of answers you would get. I don't really understand what you mean about you don't want it to look like a hacked off tree? I have started pollarding some of my mulberries, and that is exactly how I did it. I hacked off the top of the tree. When it grows back in, it does what it sounds like you would like it to do. Could you be more specific or post pictures as to what you are trying to achieve?
 
David Livingston
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Location: Anjou ,France
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Every pollard I ever saw turns into lots of little shoots then they die back leaving a couple of larger ones .

David
 
Gilbert Fritz
Posts: 1134
Location: Denver, CO
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I've heard (and seen) that if a tree is too old/ large, and the top is cut off, the cut just stays a cut, while lots of sprouts grow a good way down the trunk. However, if a tree is young/ small enough when the top is cut off, the cut area turns into a burl with all the sprouts growing out of that. I want the second, not the first.

In other words, one can look at pictures of pollards from Europe, like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding#/media/File:Newly_pollarded_near_Sluis.JPG

Which grow into this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollarding#/media/Fileollarded_trees_near_Sluis_two_years_later_April_2009_cropped_to_match_last_times_more_or_less.jpg

That is what I want.

What I don't want is this, which is common in American cities after a utility crew or some tree cowboys come through; (scroll to bottom of page) http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/5295.html
 
Todd Parr
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Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I'm not certain, but I think it may be the type of tree that determines this. The mulberries I have cut seems to be working towards what you are talking about. I have done upright willows, and they grow more branches all along the trunk. I've only tried those two kinds of trees though, so I'm not certain.
 
David Livingston
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I agree with Tod it depends on the type of tree how it looks .
 
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