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Shrubs And Trees

Q.Pollarding Vs. Topping

Zone 9b | Anonymous added on August 15, 2022 | Answered

A house I’m buying has a heavily-shaded back yard. I want to pollard at least one of the trees to allow sun for a vegetable garden. I’m having a bit of trouble telling the difference between a safe pollarding and a topping. What are some guidelines, beyond what is offered in the pages here, that I can use?

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 29, 2022

The basic difference is that with pollarding, the trimming process is started with a young tree and the sprouts are cut back each year. With topping, the cuts are made to older trees, allowing an entry point for insects and disease.

Pollarding comes with a big pruning chore each winter, probably best done by a tree trimming professional. You would be better off to remove one or two trees. Topping and pollarding are both unsightly and are detrimental to the trees.


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