(need for) Another topic

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Tue Dec 2 12:59:35 EST 2003

> Here's a story for you.  My neighbors across the street have
> magnificent trees.  Their house is perpendicular to mine so I can see
> both their yards at the same time; they have a HUGE tree filling the
> sky that is beautiful to watch in all seasons, between the leaves in
> summer and the flocks of black birds that roost in it on their
> migrations in fall.  They also have two trees growing in the strip of
> land between the curb and the sidewalk.  Two years ago I looked out my
> front window to discover that those trees had been hacked away to
> virtual stumps.  The trunks were still there, as were the nubbins of
> what had been the main branches, but basically they looked like giant
> logs still standing upright.  I thought this was some kind of
> tree-removal technique and I waited all winter for them to die.  But
> instead they started putting out leaves, like Chia pets, and now they
> are as lush as they ever were, only less messy--they leaf? sprout?
> bud? comparatively close to the ground and we had to duck under them
> when we walked past.  This would be a better story if these were
> intrinsically beautiful trees, but they're rather aggressively homely.
> Still, it's life, and it keeps on going.  I'm the opposite of a
> gardener, whatever that is, so I don't know what kind of tree this is
> or why this treatment is needed, but the homeowner told me a few
> months ago that it was something that was common for this breed.

Pollarding is what it is called, and it's a technique that goes back to
the middle ages, when forest management was a major industry. Pollarding
(cutting off above what animals can reach) and coppicing (cutting off at
ground level) are ways that were used to encourage renewable harvests of
small to medium-sized branches without having to replant from scratch
every ten years. :)

Apparently, some landscape architects liked the waterfall look this
produced, and popularized it for landscaping; it also is helpful when
trees and powerlines need to continue to co-exist on a street.

The only way to think of it is that it's better than killing the trees
because they've gotten too big. Perhaps in a way it is like bonsai. Maybe
unrepentant 'co-dependents' and other people whose joy is rising to
impossible challenges come back as trees that are pollarded-- it's
the sort of thing they might find amusing, I suppose.

-- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
"And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including
yourself. That's what sin is." -- Terry Pratchett, _Carpe Jugulum_

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