When I first saw pollarding up close, I thought it was really ugly. Poor trees. But, as it turns out, pollarding is an ancient technique used to produce wood for firewood, ship-building, etc. Getting trees to grow future ship planks wasn't easy. It took time and the harvest had to be timed properly.

The pollarding I had to do today was easy by comparison. I pollarded willows so the residents could enjoy unobstructed views of the forest. The willows look awful right after pollarding but they look fine in spring when they flush out.

Then, in winter we take them down again by eliminating all of the new shoots and leaving the funny-looking "fists". Except we chip and recycle the green waste; we don't use it for firewood or to weave baskets.

Pollarding has its place in horticulture. Give it a try, if a good situation presents itself.