16 November 2012

Funny Trees

Linden/lime (Tilia) trees in winter

Throughout Europe you find these Dr Seuss-esque trees with nubby branches

Practiced since medieval times in Europe,
trees have been 'pollarded' for wood and for livestock feed (fodder)

Today the technique is used to shape trees, decrease shade,
and confine branches from obstructing streetlights or tangling in overhead wires

But primarily
I think many like the look of a 'tidy' tree

Pollard limes in summer

With less weight and a controlled size,
pollarding a tree does decrease wind and snow damage 
and thus increase longevity

Yet I was taught in the US
that a pollard tree may have a shorter life-span 
due to the stress of regular cutting
and the tree putting all of its energy into creating branches in the Spring
and delaying leaf growth for photosynthesis

Possibly due to this difference in school of thought and tradition,
you see these dramatically pruned trees in Europe but not in the US

Trees I see in England as pollards include
willows (Salix), lindens/limes (Tilia), and planes (Platanus)

What do you think?

- all photos by me -
Sources: Wikipedia, RHS


Meghan said...

I'd seen these trees before but I just thought they were pruned, I had no idea that they were actually being shaped! It reminds me so much of Alice in Wonderland! Have a lovely weekend!

Sandra said...

I prefer trees which have not been stunted by excessive pruning. Sadly, it is done here too and the plane trees in winter look so sad to me. I actually thought that there was less pollarding in the UK, but that could have changed now. I guess in towns, it is necessary because of electric wires and the such. Also, it has to be said that there are many more violent storms all across the Planet with global warming. I think the trees are kept smaller to make them more stable in such conditions.
I do love the parks in London where they seem to leave the trees in their natural and graceful state.
An interesting subject, Laura.

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

The area that I live in has lots of trees lined along the roads, much nicer than just pavements, or as you may say, sidewalks! :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

'Pavement' is still a tricky word for me - in the US it typically alludes to the road, so in America it would be unsafe to walk on the pavement!

Ali said...

Esthetically I don't like it, but I suppose its better than the trees being removed all together. A practice some of the U.K. insurance companies encourage. Apparently they feel trees are malevolent creatures that willfully fall on your house/tree/person thus generating a claim they don't want to pay.

Love your blog header by the way. Is that new from my last visit?

Ali x

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Why, yes it is :) Just a few weeks old

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I don't know which school of thought is right, but I think those are pretty cool looking! Like another commenter said - reminds me of Alice in Wonderland.

PURA VIDA said...

Interesting to know. On our high plains we covet our trees but lately the power companies have been doing this and they look so strange growing around the power lines...but better than cutting them down I suppose.

Have a great weekend over there!

Entertaining Women said...

They remind me of the trees that children draw! ...a stick with a circle on top. Thanks for sharing them with us. Cherry Kay

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

These are indeed interesting trees and you do see them all over France as well.

I love your posts this week, the toadstools were beautiful! They reminded me of the ones you see in the etchings with the fairies sitting on top.

And I loved your Q&A, it is always nice to know more about the people behind the blogs.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Elizabeth

Gillian said...

I don't like them! I think they look a bit silly. But I can see why it's done. I don't see many round here, they are more wild and au naturel up North! x

laura.forestdreams:) said...

i love those funny winter trees!!
yes, they look naked...and unsure...but also beautiful!! =)