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  • Writer's pictureLuke Keavy

Understanding Tree Pollarding: Essential for London's Gardens




London's residential trees not only enhance the city's aesthetic appeal but also play a vital role in improving air quality, reducing noise pollution, and providing habitat for wildlife. However, maintaining trees in an urban environment presents unique challenges, which is where tree pollarding comes into play. In this blog, we'll delve into the practice of tree pollarding and why it's essential for the city of London.


What is Tree Pollarding?


Tree pollarding is a pruning technique that involves the removal of the upper branches of a tree to encourage a dense head of foliage and branches. Unlike traditional pruning methods that focus on shaping the tree's canopy, pollarding aims to control the size and shape of the tree while promoting new growth.

Why is Tree Pollarding Needed in London?


  1. Managing Urban Growth: In a city where space is at a premium, trees must be managed to prevent them from outgrowing their surroundings. Tree pollarding allows arborists to control the size and spread of trees, ensuring they remain compatible with urban infrastructure such as buildings, roads, and utility lines.

  2. Promoting Safety: London's densely populated streets pose safety hazards when it comes to trees. Overgrown branches can obstruct visibility, interfere with traffic signals, and pose a risk of falling during storms or strong winds. Pollarding helps mitigate these risks by maintaining a compact tree structure and reducing the likelihood of limb failure.

  3. Preserving Historic Trees: London boasts a rich heritage of historic trees, some of which have graced its streets for centuries. Pollarding is often employed as a preservation technique for these venerable specimens, helping to prolong their lifespan and maintain their historical significance for future generations.

  4. Enhancing Aesthetic Appeal: Well-maintained trees contribute to the beauty of London's streetscapes and public spaces. By promoting dense foliage and a uniform canopy, pollarding creates a tidy and attractive appearance that enhances the overall visual appeal of the city.

  5. Encouraging Sustainable Growth: Pollarding stimulates vigorous regrowth, leading to a denser canopy and increased carbon sequestration. This promotes the tree's long-term health and resilience, contributing to London's efforts to combat climate change and create a greener, more sustainable urban environment.


In London's urban landscape, tree pollarding emerges as a vital tool for managing and nurturing its arboreal inhabitants. By carefully controlling growth, promoting safety, preserving heritage, enhancing aesthetics, and fostering sustainability, tree pollarding ensures that London's trees continue to thrive. As Arborists, it is our responsibility to recognise the importance of tree pollarding and support its implementation for the benefit of present and future generations.


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