Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
  • entries
    5
  • comments
    24
  • views
    36,557

Trasmochos (pollards) of the Basque

David Humphries

1,013 views

A return to the trees of northern Spain

 

5a1ead416101a_monaspols.thumb.jpg.c65728de67e3572ce2ff17dcf18b3ccb.jpg

Beech pollards at the Urkiola Monastery October 2017

 

Context                                                                                                                                                                    

A 10 year project sharing experience from the UK, Sweden & Spain on the ecology, cultural importance and vulnerability of pollarded trees across Europe.     

The Basque area (as well as similar UK sites) have many examples of where pollards left out of regular cutting succumb to dysfunction, decline and fungal colonisation by Kretzschmaria deusta, Meripilus giganteus , Fomes fomentarius, Ganoderma pfeiferri & G. australe leading to part or whole tree failure.

 

The project has been focusing on the most successful ways of restoring lapsed pollards by a range of reduction techniques, to mitigate failure & decline.    

   

fail.jpg.c1a3814236863ba458137d7a4c757b96.jpg

Wind loaded pollard failure associated with Fomes fomentarius 2017      

           

merip.jpg.951553b48612be5c40537f5b9d8abe3e.jpg

Root plate pollard failure associated with Meripilus giganteus 2009

 

2007                                                                                                                                                               

A comparison of pollarding techniques was undertaken across the Basque region at various sites.                                                                                                                                                                     

A total of 38 lapsed pollards were cut in the Basque tradition (using axe/chain saw, down to just above the bolling) and in the Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches styles (using chainsaw and handsaws at a higher level in a phased 5-10 year cycle. 27 trees were cut by Spanish arborists  and 11 cut by UK arborists , with both sets of climbers mixing styles. 

 

pol2.jpg.5871861c8dd900a0826b119367584efb.jpg

Basque style   

                                   

 

 

pol3.jpg.f263554d105f3b3eb69afcab308745d3.jpg

Epping Forest style                                          

 

5a1eadab2ee4d_pol4.jpg.8ed1f9eaefad2ddd4eb89457da79356f.jpg

Burnham Beeches style (Image taken by  H. J. Read)

 

2009                                                                                                                                                 

After three growing seasons a team of ecologists and arborists from the UK visited the three sites and measured the vitality of the canopy growth and decline of the target trees to assess the response and reaction to the cutting.   

5a1eb13731ba7_AresoHelengroupphoto.thumb.jpg.d0a056579221afd756b37da2c892f5f1.jpg

                                                                                              

Among other things like general vigour, the length & diameter of cut stubs, how many new shoots and clusters of epicormics growth were recorded from 10 cut branches from all cardinal points per tree.

 

2334.jpg.a5139c6d0a0ba0359575c21596a86bdd.jpg

Measuring on an Epping Forest style  repollard      

                                                                         

gdfg.jpg.1bc43ff0bf360684c5faf236eced8f8a.jpg

Measuring on a Basque style repollard

 

See previous blog entry & thread on the 2009 trip for further context…..

 

 

 

Jan 2013.                                                                                                                                                        

Observations of the 2009 measuring/recording were presented in the Read et al paper published in the Arboricultural Journal -

Restoration of lapsed beech pollards: Evaluation of techniques and guidance for future work’                                                                                                                     

Helen J. Read, Jeremy Dagley, Jose Miguel Elosegui, Alvaro Sicilia & C.P. Wheater.

 

In conclusion the paper suggest that the pre-cutting vitality of a pollarded tree is an important factor and that retaining stubs of at least 500mm may be significant in the development of dormant buds. Avoid cutting branches over thirty years old as the ripe wood begins to deteriorate and the tree is less able to occlude wounds.

 

2017                                                                                                                                                                

A UK team from the City of London Corporation Open Spaces spent a week at the European Symposium on Pollarded trees, visiting sites, discussing experience on lapsed pollard restoration & looking at the natural heritage of the Basque region of Spain                                                                                     

23795469_10215199110437653_7232628095242579020_n.jpg.db92a2bd2455b49a0716d70cdf67944a.jpg

Image taken by Jez Young

 

Monday                                                                                                                                                        

On a drive south from Bilboa in to the Navarre region, our group stopped off at the Monastery at Urkiola to see large numbers of lapsed beech pollards.

 

trght.jpg.c0a53e6d1904bd6eb7a607df5e90d29a.jpg

 

ghgfj.jpg.cfb6cfcc3edb8fdd2f349b9164975a8c.jpg

                                                                                                                     

Tuesday                                                                                                                                                                         

Pollard Symposium at the Leitza Town Hall                                                                                                                  

The conference started with a  set of presentations on the veteran trees and pollards at the four Open Spaces of Burnham Beeches, Epping Forest, Ashtead Common & Hampstead Heath. Followed by presentations from Ted Green MBE, Ecologists and Arboriculturists from Sweden and Spain.

 

yjuyl.jpg.a662ad0cd12a7272310ad5520eebc04c.jpg

Image taken by Jez Young

 

ykyuk.jpg.30d2ae001783d99669508cdd611eb543.jpg

 

Question time followed by a fantastic exhibition of cross sections of local ring & diffuse porous tree species 

 

uikuikl.jpg.da966176fe203bbd13a8e723ed89d695.jpg

 

uiluil.jpg.a0383edd97f55f600de91e3ecf58b7d5.jpg

 

ulil.jpg.3541751bf5282b198043a00bcd16f5c1.jpg

 

Wednesday.                                                                                                                                                   

Urkizu - pollard restoration work.  Revisiting some of the 2007 cut pollards.

 

5a1eaf7cc0824_ilui.jpg.e7ceb2987020027e94d6831024696581.jpg

2009

 

_li.jpg.d784568b46ec1e57fa42a185066585dd.jpg

2017

 

After an interesting hike up into the hills above Leitza, looking at pollards and Basque living heritage on route, the group participated in a field work shop with Spanish Arborists (Samuel Alvarez  & Oriol the axeman) with the aim of further restoring a lapsed pollard (last reduced in 2007) by axe & chainsaw being directed by CoL Ecologists and Arborists.

 

5a1eaf5c473e1_ui.jpg.3049769c3d7357f66e511c5aa571f86a.jpg

 

IMG_6913.thumb.JPG.d0c802c81317256a0261522522e55067.JPG

 

5a1eaf5ddd76f_.o.jpg.9e591b7818d0ad7dff6de2b94b2f8528.jpg

 

Thursday                                                                                                                                                     

Urbasa-Andía Natural Park in western Navarre                                                                                           

A visit with Swedish ecologists and members of the Ancient Tree Forum to see oak, beech & maple pollards in wood pasture grazed by horses & cattle.

 

luitl.jpg.606ad6dc17c1442dcb280631399bb888.jpg

Maple pollards

 

5a1eaf7db079f_iluil.jpg.4b8279a711b40ee407bf9e93f9d07614.jpg

Oak Pollards

 

Friday                                                                                                                                                          

Oianleku - Aiako Harria Natural Park                                                                                                                     

Revisit to the 2007 City of London cut pollards as well as assessing an area of Spanish hard cut pollards which appeared to have a high mortality rate.

 

5a1eaf825909a_IMG_7445B.thumb.jpg.9bff893f5fc41ffc5af4b908733e7ceb.jpg

 

k_jk..jpg.412a9eb186333360c493512de569b9a9.jpg

 

The Future   

 

5a1eaf852928b_jk_il.thumb.jpg.8a9025b4356ac501c431ee0dd80cb7a7.jpg  

Whilst the tradition of pollarding younger trees for winter fodder continues in the mountains and foothills of the Basque country, the project is ongoing with a few keen people cutting just a few old pollards each year and trying to source funding for the restoration program into the future.

There is an appetite for an ongoing collaboration with Basque & Spanish arborists with the potential for working visits to the UK to work with Arborists in Suffolk and with the City of London Teams whilst working on the veteran pollards at Burnham Beeches in 2018.

 

This was yet again an amazing and inspiring trip and I very much hope to return to enjoy the heritage and tradition of the Basque way of life.

 

david.humphries@cityoflondon.gov.uk



3 Comments


Recommended Comments

Really interesting project David!

 

Must be a real chore visiting those sites :PxD

 

where pollards left out of regular cutting succumb to dysfunction, decline and fungal colonisation  does this mean that regularly pollarded trees are less susceptible to fungal colonisation?

Share this comment


Link to comment
30 minutes ago, josharb87 said:

Really interesting project David!

 

Must be a real chore visiting those sites :PxD

 

where pollards left out of regular cutting succumb to dysfunction, decline and fungal colonisation  does this mean that regularly pollarded trees are less susceptible to fungal colonisation?

It's a hard slog Josh, but someone had to step up and volunteer :D

 

Higher vitality trees (ones with lots of dense photosynthetic material) which are subjected to smaller sized cuts, (because the regrowth is younger and less size in diameter) can occlude and compartmentalise the wounds more effectively than lower vitality trees with large wounds. This will hinder fungal colonising species with wound entrance strategies (not including the dormant endophytic species though) 

The older lapsed pollards (with large diameter wood volume and tall old-growth poles) can end up having large tear outs which open large wounds which get colonised more readily.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

About

Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
If you would like to contribute to making this industry more effective and safe then welcome.
Just like a living tree, it'll always be a work in progress.
Please have a look around, sign up, share and contribute the best you have.

See you inside.

The Arbtalk Team

Follow us

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.