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What is the difference between lopping and pollarding?
Pollarding is a very commonly misunderstood practice in the tree industry.
When done correctly, pollarding is a great way to manage the size and shape of trees, most commonly practiced on deciduous varieties. Pollarding allows the tree to provide shade over summer and allow the sun through over winter.
But pollarding is often confused with lopping which is an extremely poor practice. Lopping is the cutting of a tree with little to no consideration of the future health of the tree. This may include not cutting back to suitable growth points, just cutting the tree back to a totem pole, or cutting the crown out of the tree. Lopping covers just about any pruning that is not performed to the Australian Standard 4373-2007 for the Pruning of Amenity Trees.
Pollarding is the practice of cutting all the foliage off a tree back to hardwood, then allowing the tree to reshoot from these stubs, and then every 1-5 years trimming all these shoots off again. It is important to trim these shoots back off regularly as they aren’t attached very strongly, so as they get bigger they are prone to snapping off and causing damage to the surroundings.