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Barrow Bird

Ash Pollard scheduled for July... Seriously?!

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I'm an imposter..A qualified gardener, not an arborist...

 

I took on maintenance and development of a pub garden in March this year. The landlord proudly announced yesterday that a beautifully balanced, healthy looking, mature Ash is scheduled for pollarding in mid July... "Because the neighbour doesn't want pigeons pooping on his balcony".

 

He's booked the work in with a local cutting and clearing service, rather than any of the excellent arborists in the area... "Got a good price for taking out the dead tree as well" (A Thuja. Definitely dead).

 

A) Wouldn't late winter/early spring be a better time, especially on such a mature, previously unpollarded tree?

 

B) I know it's an Ash, but won't such a severe July cut seriously jeopardise the tree's health?

 

C) Surely pigeons can still poop from a pollard... Moreover, get a better aim on their target without obstruction?

 

 

Edited by Barrow Bird
Dyslexic's double-check.

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5 hours ago, Barrow Bird said:

I'm an imposter..A qualified gardener, not an arborist...

 

I took on maintenance and development of a pub garden in March this year. The landlord proudly announced yesterday that a beautifully balanced, healthy looking, mature Ash is scheduled for pollarding in mid July... "Because the neighbour doesn't want pigeons pooping on his balcony".

 

He's booked the work in with a local cutting and clearing service, rather than any of the excellent arborists in the area... "Got a good price for taking out the dead tree as well" (A Thuja. Definitely dead).

 

A) Wouldn't late winter/early spring be a better time, especially on such a mature, previously unpollarded tree?

 

B) I know it's an Ash, but won't such a severe July cut seriously jeopardise the tree's health?

 

C) Surely pigeons can still poop from a pollard... Moreover, get a better aim on their target without obstruction?

 

 

Hi and welcome o the forum, in answer to your questions:

 

A)  Two parts to this answer. 

 

A-1) No late winter / early spring is not better, that is kind of an old view.  Fungal spores are higher at that time than in the summer and the wound response of deciduous trees is pretty much zero in the winter.  As such spores will settle and the tree will not begin compartmentalising until the summer.  Also, you would be removing stored energy just before the tree is going to need it to start to grow again.     

 

A-2) You can't pollard a mature tree, its a pretty common misconception.  Pollarding is something which is carried out from a young age and then done cyclically.  What you are describing is topping of a mature / maiden tree.  Google 'why topping hurts trees' and have a read of the ISA leaflet.  It should answer your question.   

 

B) Again see ISA leaflet.  As topping is not specified by best practice it could be taking off the top third which while not great for the tree probably isn't going to kill it.  Local authorities do this all the time, not great though but at the end of the day people do manage tees in this way and most tree surgeons do it as if they don't, someone else will and they still have to earn a living.  Or, it could be cutting it down to a 4m stump with 600mm pruning wounds, this would be worse and a mature tree isn't going to recover well from this, even if it does survive it will look pretty terrible.  Again, some local authorities do this also.    

 

C) The topping will reduce the overhang and maybe the amount of pigeon mess, the only way to stop it would be to fell.    

 

I take it the tree doesn't have a TPO?   

 

 

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Hi Chris at Eden, many thanks for your prompt and very informative response. Yes, that was my understanding of pollarding, which is why alarm bells were ringing!

 

Thanks for the update on winter season work. That all makes perfect sense. We do our orchard cherries and plums in summer for those very reasons. (We also mostly summer prune our pomes now they're in good shape). I didn't know the same applied to other deciduous trees.

 

Sadly, there's no TPO on the tree, which looks set for a mullering (not to mention an annual maintenance bill) if I can't persuade him to get an arborist's opinion.

 

I'll check out the ISA leaflet. Thanks also for that and have a great day!

 

 

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Any signs of Chalara  on it ? If so the combined stress will probably see it off .

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1 hour ago, Barrow Bird said:

Hi Chris at Eden, many thanks for your prompt and very informative response. Yes, that was my understanding of pollarding, which is why alarm bells were ringing!

No problem. 

1 hour ago, Barrow Bird said:

 

Thanks for the update on winter season work. That all makes perfect sense. We do our orchard cherries and plums in summer for those very reasons. (We also mostly summer prune our pomes now they're in good shape). I didn't know the same applied to other deciduous trees.

Its more specific with cherries and plums as you are avoiding the sporulation season of silver leaf disease.  Don't get me wrong, winter pruning of deciduous trees happens all the time and generally without notable effect as long as the cuts are kept small.  But pruning when the tree is actively growing and can seal off the vessels is always going to be better.  Not straight after leaf formation though as the energy reserves will be depleted.  Again though, this is in an ideal world and realistically tree surgeons prune all year round.    

1 hour ago, Barrow Bird said:

 

Sadly, there's no TPO on the tree, which looks set for a mullering (not to mention an annual maintenance bill) if I can't persuade him to get an arborist's opinion.

If it has public visibility you could always tip off the LPA.  Probably wont go down well with your client though.  

1 hour ago, Barrow Bird said:

 

I'll check out the ISA leaflet. Thanks also for that and have a great day!

 

 

 

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